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Wales: Householder in desperate battle with two burglars; One raider still at large.

Byline: By ELWYN ROBERTS

A HOUSEHOLDER who bravely rugby-tackled a masked raider outside his garage was attacked by the burglar's accomplice, a court was told yesterday.

The accomplice has never been traced.

Victim Martin Thickitt hung on to burglar Lee John Jones despite a violent struggle.

They fell through a fence and Mr Thickitt was then set upon by Jones' accomplice wielding an iron bar.

He eventually let go of Jones.

Both raiders fled but Joneswas arrested because he had left his balaclava helmet behind.

Flakes of skin found inside during a forensic examination led to a DNA hit and Jones was arrested two months later.

Yesterday Jones, 21, of Ffordd Gwilym in Wrexham, admitted burglary at the detached garage of Mr Thickitt's home in Garden Village and was jailed for 20 months.

Judge John Rogers QC, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said that if Jones had been convicted after trial then he would have received two and a half years.

The judge said that he was quite satisfied that Jones, and the othermanwhom Jones had refused to identify, had gone to Garden Village that night in March to carry out a burglary.

Although they must have known that Mr Thickitt's home was occupied, they broke into his garage.

The case was aggravated by the fact that there were two of them and that Jones wore a balaclava helmet which prevented the victim from seeing his face. He could only see his eyes.

A substantial period of custody was required because of the aggravating features, and to deter others, Judge Rogers said.

John Philpotts, prosecuting, told how Mr Thickitt was about to retire for the night when an automatic light came on at the rear of his house.

He saw the shadow of one man run away and when he went to investigate Jones emerged from the garage wearing a balaclava.

"Mr Thickitt, not surprisingly, was annoyed at this intrusion and rugby-tackled him to the ground," Mr Philpotts said.

Therewas a struggle duringwhich both of them fell through a wood perimeter fence.

But it was during the struggle that the other man returned and launched a sustained assault upon him.

He threw one, or possibly two, ceramic pots at him but they missed.

The accomplice then produced a jemmy bar with a hook on one end which he swung towards him, but also missed.

Mr Thickitt kept a firm hold on Jones even though he then came under attack by the other man using a long wooden stake.

It struck him to his armas he defended his head, which caused an injury which required a plaster cast.

Lynne Owens, his partner, got up and realised what was happening, she intervened, but was pushed into a rotary washing line and injured.

Mr Thickitt, realising that he was in a vulnerable position against two men, one armed with a piece of wood, than let Jones go and then both fled. But Jones was arrested after his DNA was found on the inside of the balaclava.

Des Parry, defending, said that Jones had nothing to do with the violence the other man had used and had no idea that he had got a weapon.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2008
Words:531
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