Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Householder cleared of murder after shooting dead intruder

Kenneth Batchelor, fired a shotgun at “very close quarters” to 42-year-old Matthew Clements, after Clements had climbed the scaffolding of Batchelor's home to try to force open an upstairs window.

The jury at Maidstone Crown Court took just one hour to unanimously acquit Mr Batchelor of the murder of Mr Clements, from Ashford in Kent, who was “well known” to police, had  settled disputes by violence and had once turned up at a garage to threaten the manager with an Uzi submachine gun.

Mr Batchelor,  legally owned the shotgun which killed Mr Clements with one shot to the chest, and told the court that it had discharged accidentally as he stood terrified at a top floor window which Mr Clements was trying to open.

The Prosecution said:

“In the circumstances, Mr Batchelor was entitled to defend himself and his property. You will hear Mr Batchelor told police the shotgun was discharged by accident in the heat of events. 

“The case enters that very difficult area – the degree to which a householder can use violence to defend himself. 

“What is reasonable and what is unreasonable; what goes over the line, what doesn’t go over the line. It is for the jury to decide where the line should be drawn and what is reasonable in response to a threat.”

Following the verdict, Judge Jeremy Carey said:

“No-one should draw any conclusions of a general kind on this case. This defendant has been acquitted of the charge of murder, each case depends upon its own merits."

5 comments:

  1. Good, let's hope Mr Batchelor sues the estate of the dead shit ( if any ).
    I hope this sets a precedent for anyone burgling my place, my hammer might accidentaly smash his skull in " in the heat of the moment ".

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  2. That seemed like a very civilised and fair-minded opening by the prosecution.

    I wonder if he'd been burgled?

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  3. Why was he even prosecuted in the first place? A total waste of money.

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  4. IEBOC: Not entirely sure that there is anything for an action to based on.

    Ex Apprentice: I thought (reading between the lines) it was class. Shame the Judge had to put a downer on it though.

    Sue: Yup! People who own firearms, that are registered, may use them, providing reasonable force was used in proportion to the level of violence they feared was about to be exacted upon their goodself. (or their family) Until, that is, the next case comes along. (see Judges comments)

    The Refuser: Because it was felt, by the CPS, to be in the public interest. Maybe the CPS should appeal the case in the Public Interest and The Sake of Precedent.

    Maybe the Gombar family should be afforded the same sort of opportunity and should be allowed a private prosecution on a charge of death by dangerous driving? The CPS can always take it over in "the interest of the public."

    Just my opinion as a not a lawyer.

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