Man Who Killed Burglar Acted In Self Defence, Court Finds

Man Who Killed Burglar Will Not Be Prosecuted

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- A householder who was arrested on suspicion of murdering a burglar is to be released without charge.

Peter Flanagan, 59, was held after the death of John Bennell, 27, who died from a stab wound to the chest after a number of masked men tried to break into Mr Flanagan's home in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, said: "I have today told the police of my decision that Peter Flanagan should not face any charges in connection with the death of John Bennell, an intruder who broke into his home in Salford on 22 June."

Mr Afzal said: "I am satisfied that Peter Flanagan acted in self defence after being woken by noises downstairs in his house shortly before midnight. On investigating the disturbance he was confronted by intruders, one of whom was armed with a machete.

"In reaching this decision I have looked carefully at the evidence that the police have presented in this case and have taken into consideration the Crown Prosecution Service policy on householders and the use of force against intruders. In a case such as this I have to ask myself whether the use of force was necessary and whether it was reasonable in the circumstances.

"People are entitled to use reasonable force in self-defence to defend themselves, their family and their property. All the evidence indicates that in the frightening circumstances that he faced, Mr Flanagan did what he honestly and instinctively believed was necessary to protect himself and his home from intruders."

Police were first alerted by a frantic 999 call from a woman to reports of a burglary at the house in Ethel Avenue, and then a second call to reports of an injured man being carried along the street nearby. Mr Bennell was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Flanagan, 59, was arrested on suspicion of murder and later bailed pending further inquiries. His son, Neil, 27, and a 21-year-old woman were also arrested but released without charge.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said: "When presented with the circumstances of that evening, we made the right and proper decision to make the arrests. We had a duty of care to John Bennell's family, the occupants of the house and to the coroner to fully investigate this death to determine whether or not it was a criminal act or one of self-defence. I am satisfied that we provided the full facts of the case to the CPS and I respect their decision."

Three men from Greater Manchester have been charged with aggravated burglary in connection with the incident and are next due to appear in court in September.


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