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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Man guilty of burglar manslaughter
Barry-Lee Hastings at an earlier hearing
Barry-Lee Hastings was cleared of murder
A man who stabbed a burglar to death has been found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

Barry-Lee Hastings is facing a jail sentence after being convicted of the manslaughter of the burglar at his family's home in January.

The 25-year-old was cleared of murder but found guilty on a 10-2 majority verdict of manslaughter.

The court heard that father-of-two Hastings was visiting his estranged wife's home in north London when he discovered Roger Williams ransacking the flat.


I thought someone had the children up there. I never intended to stab anyone

Barry-Lee Hastings
Mr Williams, of Tottenham, north London, 35, died in January after being stabbed twelve times in the back by Hastings who claimed he had acted to protect his family.

Mrs Hastings and the children, who were aged under four, were not at home at the time but Hastings did not know this.

As he reached the flat he had seen a man in an upstairs bedroom and found the front door had been forced open.

Hastings told the court he picked up a knife from the kitchen to scare off whoever was there.

'Own punishment'

He added: "At the time, I believed I was protecting my children.

"I was going to call the police on my mobile phone but I thought I heard my daughter crying. I thought I heard men's voices. I thought someone had the children up there.

"I never intended to stab anyone."

One of the stab wounds penetrated Mr Williams's heart.

Hastings claimed Mr Williams attacked him with what he thought was a machete but only superficial injuries were found on his hands.

Peter Kyte QC, prosecuting, said Hastings "overstepped the mark" and had "meted out his own form of punishment".

'No justice'

Mr Kyte told the jury: "The law recognises a man is entitled to defend himself, his family and his property - only if his action does not go beyond the reasonable and the necessary.

"There is no doubt Mr Hastings stumbled across a burglary.

"There is no doubt that Roger Williams was a thoroughly bad hat in the eyes of the law.

"But, nonetheless, as a human being he is just as entitled to the freedom to live as anyone else."

At the time of the incident Mr Williams, who had many convictions for burglary, was on the run from police.

Judge Brian Barker remanded Hastings, of Wood Green, north London, in custody until 4 October for pre-sentence reports.

Outside court, members of Hastings family were in shock.

Nicola Hastings said: "This is wrong. There is no justice."

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BBC London's Mike Ramsden
Deborah Fahy, Hastings mother-in-law, said "there's no justice in this world at all"

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