A South Yorkshire man, who ‘lost control’ and subjected the man who burgled his family business to a sustained beating, has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how the attack victim and two others broke into the Great White pool hall in Parkgate, Rotherham in the early hours of July 29 last year.
The trio burgled ransacked the business premises itself as well as the flat upstairs where defendant, Brett Fletcher, lives.
Fletcher, 26, was not at home at the time of the burglary, but when he returned the following day to open the pool hall he encountered one of the trio of burglars who had returned to the scene and pursued him.
“He punched him in excess of 20 times and kicked him to the head twice. Those punches were mainly to the head, said Carl Fitch, prosecuting, adding: “This defendant clearly lost his self control in these circumstances and in this situation, because he found himself unlawfully pursuing, apprehending and detaining him in what went way beyond the realms of reasonable restraint.”
Mr Fitch said the burglar was knocked unconscious during the attack at the pool hall, which is owned by Fletcher’s family, and was placed in the intensive care unit for a number of days as a result of his injuries.
He suffered a number of injuries including fractures to the right-hand side of his face, for which he needed to have surgery.
Following the assault, Fletcher told his father that the burglar brandished a knife at him prior to the attack taking place, the court heard.
Fletcher, of Morris Avenue, Rawmarsh, pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm at an earlier hearing.
Richard English, defending, said: “He is desperately sorry for what he has done, and has had these proceedings hanging over his head for the last 15 months.”
Mr English told the court how Fletcher’s home was burgled when he was a young child, which had a ‘big impact’ on him.
“Mr Fletcher accepts he lost his cool, he lost his self-control, and acted in a way that was totally out of character.”
Judge Graham Reeds QC sentenced Fletcher to nine months in prison, suspended for nine months, and made him the subject of an electronically monitored curfew for a period of three months.
Passing sentence, Judge Reeds said he wanted to send a message concerning a person’s right to defend their home.
“The courts will protect people when they need to protect their home or property, and using force to do so, providing such force is not disproportionate.
“However, the amount of force used in your case...was grossly disproportionate to the threat he posed to you or your property at the time. This is the reason why you have been prosecuted, and are here to be sentenced by me.”