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Man who stabbed burglar not charged.

Summary: A man who killed an intruder for breaking into his Salford home will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

A man who killed an intruder for breaking into his Salford home will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

Earlier this year 59-year-old householder Peter Flanagan was arrested on suspicion of murdering 27-year-old burglar John Bennell, but the decision means he will now be released without charge.

Flanagan stabbed Bennell in the chest after he discovered several intruders in his house late at night, one of whom was carrying a machete.

Also present at the time of the break-in was Flanagan's 27-year-old son, Neil and 21-year-old girlfriend, who were both released without charge.

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," he added.

"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."

Prime Minister David Cameron has been outspoken on the issue of self-defence in cases of burglary, telling the BBC last year that when people break into others' homes "they leave their human rights outside".

News of the ruling comes as the Ministry of Justice said the Government is currently working to clarify the law in relation to self-defence.

"(We) have made it clear that we intend to put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted," it added in a statement.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Jul 29, 2011
Words:440
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