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It's nothing personal, burglar tells Bodicote homeowner who caught him
A PILOT who caught a burglar outside his home grilled him about why he had done it as he detained him for 12 minutes while waiting for police to arrive.
Former Royal Navy air engineer Paul Hughes refused to let career burglar Warren Lawrence escape when he saw him running away from his house.
He shouted and chased the burglar before sitting on him and asking him why he had targeted his house in Bodicote.
The pilot said at one point during the altercation he asked the burglar: “Why are you doing this?” And got the reply: “It’s nothing personal.”
Mr Hughes said he then told Lawrence: “What do you mean it’s nothing personal? You just burgled my house. You can’t get much more personal than that.”
Lawrence, 53, has now been jailed after he admitted breaking into Mr Hughes’s family home on September 24.
Speaking after the case at Oxford Crown Court, Mr Hughes said: “The whole thing seemed to go on forever. You become tired with adrenaline.
“Of course, if it happened again I would protect my home again. You don’t sit back and think about what you would do, you just do it.
“It was just a set of circumstances which meant he came across the wrong person. If it was someone older he might have got away with it.”
Mr Hughes said that his family had reinforced their home security measures after the burglary and he urged other local people not to be complacent.
In court, Cathy Olliver, prosecuting, told a judge the burglary took place in East Street, Bodicote at about 10.30am.
She said Mr Hughes, his wife and their two children set out for Bicester Village at around 10.30am, but turned around because they forgot some vouchers.
Pulling into his driveway, Mr Hughes could see his home’s patio doors were open and spotted Lawrence in the garden, she said.
The father-of-two chased the burglar over two fences, the second of which collapsed on top of Lawrence.
Mr Hughes said a “scuffle” then ensued lasting about 12 minutes, with him using “reasonable force” to subdue and eventually sit on the criminal.
He was also aided by a passing paramedic who helped him hold Lawrence down until the police arrived.
Miss Olliver said Lawrence was a “career burglar” who had travelled from Leicestershire and bought a pair of gloves earlier that day to use in the break-in .
Claire Fraser, defending, said her client had struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering abuse as a child.
Judge Gordon Risius said Lawrence, of High Street, Ibstock, Leicestershire, had 22 convictions for 60 offences and was a “three-strike” burglar.
He sentenced Lawrence, who admitted burglary, to two years and eight months in jail and told him to pay a £120 victim’s surcharge.
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