A farmer who wrecked a car parked on his land with a tractor has been cleared of criminal harm after he successfully used the 400-year-antique criminal principle that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.
Robert Hooper, 57, changed into an internet sensation in June remaining yr, whilst a video of him using the spikes on his telehandler to flip a £16,000 Vauxhall Corsa went viral on social media.
The hill farmer from Higher Teesdale said he had been pressured to take action after he got here beneath attack from a “strutting and agitated” shirtless adolescence, who had refused to move the car from his land.
Mr Hooper stated he didn’t name police as a result of he have been burgled eight times and found they have been incessantly sluggish to reply.
He went on trial at Durham Crown Court Docket after being charged with bad riding and prison injury.
However he used to be acquitted of all fees after telling the jury: “An Englishman’s house is his citadel and my fort starts at that entrance gate.”
Michael Rawlinson, his barrister, told the court that the origins of the phrase may well be traced back to 1604, while Sir Edward Coke used to be the attorney basic of england.
“this entire case is set an Englishman’s home being his castle and his proper to lawful self-defence of himself and his belongings,” defined Mr Rawlinson.
In an early 17th century ruling, referred to as Semayne’s case, Sir Edward mentioned: “the house of each one is to him as his fortress and fortress besides for defence in opposition to injury and violence, as for his repose.
“If theeves sic come to a person’s house to rob him, or homicide, and the owner or his servants kill any of the theeves in defence of himself and his space, it’s no legal, and he shall lose not anything.”
The case in opposition to Mr Hooper also became a town as opposed to u . s . debate, with the farmer and his neighbours railing against people who had used their isolated, rural neighborhood as a playground all through lockdown.
The court docket heard how Elliott Johnson and Charlie Burn, his passenger, had parked the Vauxhall Corsa on Mr Hooper’s land when the vehicle suffered a double blow-out. They were making their manner house to Tyneside after spending the day at Low Force waterfall with 5 pals.
Charlie Burns, left, and Elliot Johnson, right, arriving at Durham Crown Court throughout the trial Credit: Richard Rayner
Mr Hooper, who have been sillaging and bailing, drove down to discuss to the driving force to give an explanation for the car was once blocking off get right of entry to to his field.
He informed the court docket: “I said: ‘Now then lads, can we have this automobile moved, i need to be in and out.’
“Immediately, Burns was once right in my face. All Through Covid we’d been metres from folks and right here he was five inches from my nostril. He was on facet and agitated and full of himself.
“I requested him in a well mannered way once more: ‘Can we’ve got this automobile moved?’ and he mentioned: ‘I’m now not f—–g moving this automotive.
“With that he punched me in the face, which somewhat surprised me. I mentioned i used to be only asking him to move the auto. “
Frightened that they might have guns, Mr Hooper said he then climbed into his telehandler and, the use of the forks, picked up the back of the auto and driven it onto the road.
Then Again, the auto clipped a post of the farm gate and flipped over, inflicting massive damage.
A video of the incident was uploaded to social media and quickly went viral.
Driver has blocked farm gate together with his automobile.
Motorist has smartphone.
Farmer has forklift.
Who’s gonna win this one?
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) June 7, 2021
Mr Hooper said he and his neighbours in Higher Teesdale had been plagued by anti-social behaviour throughout lockdown, with an inflow of holiday makers.
He mentioned: “There has been anti-social behaviour, drug-taking, folks lights fires, knocking walls down and blockading the roads with parking, inflicting a threat to people as well.”
Jacky Meeson, his neighbour, who was once also referred to as to give proof, mentioned: “Our house become very popular on account of the rivers and countryside and hordes of people got here out who were not used to being in the nation-state however wanted some freedom.
“With that came an absence of admire for the nation-state and the people who reside there. there has been a basic feeling of being invaded by something we were not used to.”
Mr Hooper denied bad riding and legal damage and argued that he had been performing in self-defence.
Surrounded by a dozen of his buddies and neighbours, Mr Hooper hugged Karen Henderson, his partner of six years, because the verdict was once brought.
Speaking outside court docket, Ms Henderson said: “The reinforce of his local community and likewise people from afar has stored him dealing with those last eight months of hell, that have been bad.
“the entire factor has been such an ordeal for him, he’s not someone who likes to be the centre of consideration so this has been tricky.
“it has been glorious to look such a lot of other people from the Dales come to toughen him, that really manner a lot.”
Robert Hooper with Karen Henderson, his spouse, outdoor court docket Credit: Richard Rayner
William Wearmouth, a 66-year-vintage farmer who was once additionally considered one of folks that made the journey to court from Higher Teesdale, mentioned: “Robert Hooper is a tight, fair guy, the toughest operating man in the Dale and the jury were given it proper.
“He did nothing unsuitable, he was once beneath attack and he did what he had to do to give protection to himself and his property.
“Considering That lockdown, the Dale has been deluged via individuals who discuss with and do not in reality take note the rustic.
“all of us understood what he went through as a result of we all noticed the way other people, kids particularly, were behaving and inflicting disruption to everyone’s lives.”