Brave theft vic­tim, 63, fought off bur­glar, 25

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY LYNDA ROUGHLEY vis­iternews@south­portvis­ @Visiter

AN ORM­SKIRK man who bravely punched a bur­glar, knock­ing out a tooth, has been praised by a top judge and awarded “full marks”.

Not only did the cul­prit, Craig Ford, lose a tooth, but, when caught by po­lice four months later, he was bit­ten by a po­lice dog af­ter he kicked it while strug­gling to avoid ar­rest.

Jail­ing the “three strikes” bur­glar, Judge Cle­ment Gold­stone, QC, the Recorder of Liver­pool, told him: “You’ve learnt two lessons, I hope. One is you do not mess with David Old­ham and, two, you don’t mess with the po­lice.

“I’m de­lighted to say that for your pains in com­mit­ting these of­fences you now have one tooth less than you had be­fore and you got bit­ten by a dog. It is the least you de­serve.”

Liver­pool Crown Court heard that the 63-year-old vic­tim – who also coura­geously punched Ford’s ac­com­plice – ended up with Ford’s blood on him which en­abled po­lice to iden­tify him.

Sen­tenc­ing him to a to­tal sen­tence of three years, four months, the judge again praised Mr Old­ham, say­ing: “full marks to Mr Old­ham for the way in which he re­sponded to what you did to in­vade his prop­erty.

“He gave you more than you bar­gained for be­cause when he con­fronted you at the side of his house, dis­guised so only your eyes and nose were vis­i­ble, he punched you.

“And not only did he punch you but when your ac­com­plice, who had been break­ing in up­stairs and jumped down from the roof, he punched him as well.”

Derek Jones, pros­e­cut­ing, told Liver­pool Crown Court that, at the time of the bur­glary on April 5 this year, Ford was on li­cence from a three-year sen­tence im­posed in 2016.

At about 7pm on April 5, Mr Old­ham was at his home in Al­tys Lane, Orm­skirk, when he heard noises and look­ing out he saw Ford, who had his coat zipped up with his hood down and look­ing up­wards.

“Mr Old­ham, a man of some sub­stance, bravely went out to the side of the prop­erty and was con­fronted by the de­fen­dant, who moved to­wards him.

“Fear­ing for his safety, he punched him once to the face, which knocked him to the floor, and also knocked a tooth out.”

The other in­truder then jumped down from the roof, land­ing in front of Mr Old­ham, who in­stinc­tively punched him to the face, caus­ing him to stum­ble back­wards.

“The de­fen­dant had got back up and both males scuf­fled with him and be­gan to punch him and Mr Old­ham ended up be­ing pushed into a bush.”

Mr Jones said that the ac­com­plice picked up a plank of wood and swung it at Mr Old­ham and Ford said: “Shoot him, he’s knocked my teeth out.”

The ac­com­plice said to Mr Old­ham: “We’ll just leave it now if you let us go.” And they both fled the scene and drove off.

Po­lice saw Ford him on July 28 in Belmont Road, West Derby, and, af­ter run­ning to a Ford Kuga, he sped off, caus­ing a po­lice­man to have to step out of the way.

Dur­ing a pur­suit, he went through a red traf­fic light and the wrong way down West Derby Road be­fore he turned off and dis­ap­peared.

On Au­gust 2, po­lice raided a house in Cinema Drive, Wavertree, and Ford was agi­tated and strug­gled vi­o­lently and kicked out at a po­lice dog.

The han­dler re­leased the dog, which bit Ford in the area of his left shoul­der while he was on the set­tee and he was hand­cuffed and ar­rested.

Ford, 25, of no fixed ad­dress, pleaded guilty to bur­glary; as­sault by beat­ing; driv­ing dangerously, while dis­qual­i­fied and with­out a li­cence. He was banned from driv­ing for 32 months.

Des­mond Len­non, de­fend­ing, said that Ford had been liv­ing an itin­er­ant life­style af­ter his re­lease from prison and “had gone off the rails.”

At the time of the of­fences his grand­mother, to whom he was close, was dy­ing.

He had is­sues with ac­com­mo­da­tion and had re­verted to crim­i­nal­ity but hope­fully this cus­to­dial sen­tence will start him on the path to change, said Mr Len­non.

“Ford had driven in panic on see­ing the po­lice, as he knew he was wanted, but did not drive at the of­fi­cer.”

Det Insp Andy McCourt said: “We wel­come the sen­tenc­ing of Ford and hope it shows oth­ers the courts will treat those in­volved in this type of crime, se­ri­ously and they will go to jail for it.

“Bur­glary is not a vic­tim­less of­fence, it has a mas­sive and last­ing ef­fect on vic­tims and we will do ev­ery­thing in our power to trace those re­spon­si­ble and bring them to jus­tice.”

Craig Ford was jailed for three years and four months

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