Kill a burglar right or wrong?

Kill a burglar right or wrong?
Posted 11th April 2018

A homeowner who stabbed to death a burglar breaking into his house will not face any charges in what has been hailed a victory for justice.

It raises questions as to what 'reasonable force' really does mean.


What happened 

Whilst home owner Peter Flanagan was asleep, four men, one wielding a machete, broke into his home as he slept.

Peter Flanagan feared for his and his families safety and stabbed one of the burglars, who was later pronounced as dead as a consequence of the stabbing.


Am I entitled to kill a burglar?

Yes, but only under certain circumstances.  And you would almost certainly face detailed police questions about your actions. 

The police and courts would have to be satisfied that when the burglar died, you were engaging in what the law regards as legitimate self-defence.

The legitimacy of that self-defence relies in part on the long-established common law right of honest citizens to use “reasonable force” to protect themselves.  

The Criminal Law Act 1967 also encoded a similar 'reasonable force' defence for actions taken to prevent crime.

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