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EDITIONS
Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Man jailed for killing burglar
Barry-Lee Hastings at an earlier hearing
Barry-Lee Hastings was cleared of murder
A man who stabbed a burglar to death has been sentenced to five years in jail by an Old Bailey judge.

Barry-Lee Hastings from Wood Green, north London, was found guilty of the manslaughter of the burglar last month.

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

Judge Brian Barker told him he had gone too far and his actions were not justified.


A householder is not entitled to use more than reasonable force to defend himself

Judge Brian Barker

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

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.

Judge Barker told Hastings he had repeatedly stabbed Mr Williams in the back, mostly outside the house when the danger was over.

"You had gone into the attack and you were engaged in retaliation.


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

Barry-Lee Hastings

The judge said he had sympathy for a householder finding himself in those circumstances but said Mr Williams' presence "did not justify the actions you took".

"Although Roger Williams was a burglar and had no right to be there, a householder is not entitled to use more than reasonable force to defend himself," he added.

Nigel Rumfitt QC, defending, told the court on Thursday that Hastings was a thoroughly decent and hard-working man who loved his wife and was devoted to his family.

The court was told during the trial that as Hastings reached the flat he saw a man in an upstairs bedroom and found the front door had been forced open.

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

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."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Guy Smith
"The judge said this case was a tragedy for all concerned"
Criminal defence practioner Malcolm Fowler
"There's nothing wrong with the law as it stands"

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See also:

10 Sep 02 | England
15 Jul 02 | England
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