Homeowner arrested after the burglar he confronted falls 30ft
by JAYA NARAIN - More by this author »
Last updated at 21:06pm on 8th August 2007
A homeowner was arrested after a burglar plunged from the balcony of his top-floor flat.
The intruder suffered head injuries and is fighting for his life after falling around 30ft on to a concrete path.
Later police arrested the owner and are investigating whether the intruder was pushed.
The incident happened early on Monday when Patrick Walsh, 56, awoke to find the 43-year-old man rifling through his flat.
They argued and the confrontation moved towards the rear window of the flat.
It is believed the intruder then smashed the window and clambered out on to a narrow ledge and fell to the ground.
Mr Walsh phoned police and at around 6.30am officers found the man on the ground outside the smart Victorian apartment block in Chorlton-cum-Hardy,
He was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
Officers arrested Mr Walsh on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and are trying to establish whether the intruder was forced out of the window.
The arrest is expected to fuel arguments about the rights of householders to defend themselves against burglars.
The issue has been high on the law and order agenda since farmer Tony Martin was jailed for shooting dead a burglar in 1999.
Following the Martin affair the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers said any householder can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime.
Yesterday Mr Walsh, who was given bail pending further inquiries, refused to speak about the incident.
But his solicitor Victor Wozny said: "My client is not at liberty to say anything because he is under police bail.
"However we appreciate that the public view might be that this is a man arrested in his own home defending his own property."
A neighbour said: "Police arrived in what seemed to be minutes and were there for the whole day.
"It's shocking to find out what has happened but people shouldn't break into other people's houses."
Another resident said: "I presume we will have to respect the burglar's rights while his victim has the nightmare of court hanging over his head. It all seems so unfair."
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said they had been called following reports that an intruder had fallen from a top-floor flat.
A 56-year-old man had woken up to find a man in his flat.
"Following an exchange of words, the alleged burglar was found unconscious on the pavement outside the flat.
"It is believed that he had fallen from the fourth-floor window."
He said the man is 43 and lives locally and inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Mr Walsh was later released on bail until November. If charged and convicted he could face a life sentence.