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Those who live by the sword…

January 21, 2008

Perhaps the people on trial went a little bit too far with their summary justice, but how much would crime reduce if more burglars ended up like this?

Burglar died after beating

A burglar was stabbed and beaten to death by a gang of neighbours after they caught him raiding one of their flats in a Wolverhampton tower block, a court heard this afternoon.Drug addict Alan Harris, pictured, was attacked by five men after he was caught “red handed” stealing a TV, DVD player and DVDs, it was alleged.

Mr Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, said: “It was a low and despicable crime to burgle a neighbour in such a way. He was to pay the ultimate price.”

Lee Gannon, Wayne Buchanan, Michael Joyce, Patrick Summers and Dale Francis all deny murdering Mr Harris, aged 37, in Wodensfield Tower, Wednesfield, early on March 11.

The court heard his killers beat Mr Harris up and dragged him to the 15th floor where he was dumped in a lift and had bleach poured over him in an attempt to clean the scene.

He died later in New Cross Hospital from multiple injuries including skull fractures and a stab wound. The victim lived alone in Flat 17 on the third floor of the flats in Plym Close. Cocaine, amphetamines and Ecstasy were found in his body.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court was told that on the night he died Mr Harris broke into Flat 85 at Wodensfield Tower, the home of Gannon, 25.

He took the electronic equipment along with a Burberry cap and even the bed to exchange for drugs and returned to Flat 85.

Mr Hotten said Gannon returned home with Buchanan, 27, of Rushall Road, Northwood Park, and Summers, 23, of Dudley Road, Wolverhampton.

Meanwhile a party was taking place at the nearby flat of Joyce, a friend of Gannon. Joyce and Francis, who was at the party and lived in Wodensfield Tower, both aged 19, joined in the attack, it was alleged.

The trial continues.

(First posted on Police Oracle forum 1746 21/01/08 )

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2008 21:08

    Having recently had my car broken into, it would be easy for me to be pleased by a news report like this, so why do I feel so sorry for him?

    It’s obvious his crime was motivated by drugs, but his killers sound far more dangerous and brutal. More like a case of a gang of dogs attacking a weaker dog.

  2. January 21, 2008 21:31


    I wouldn’t feel sorry for him just because he was on drugs. It is a fallacy that people turn to crime to fund their drug habit.

    In the majority of cases, the drug user was a criminal before they started taking Class A drugs. They use the excuse to avoid prison sentences and real punishment. How else can you explain the juvenile crime rate? These kids commit crime, then over the years, having spent the money on all the junk that kids spend their money on, they find something else to spend it on.

    The usual outlet is Cocaine or Heroin or both.

    On the other hand, there are many people out there who take these drugs and manage to fund their habit through legitimate means. Again, they have run out of imagination as to what to spend their money on and turn to drugs.

    There aren’t very many people out there who are FORCED to take drugs. For some it’s a lifestyle choice.

  3. January 21, 2008 21:54

    I would be interested to know the history of the alleged murderers as well as the history of the deceased burglar. All this before the generalisations on due desserts.

    I suspect there are examples to be made but also people who live by different rules to the majority where revenge is not the same as justice as far as punishment goes.

    Having said that, there are sufficient people out there, victims, who are fed up with the levels of sentencing imposed by people who should do better on convicted criminals who should know better.

  4. annette permalink
    January 22, 2008 10:26

    I don’t feel sorry for him.
    Those people have worked hard to get a nice home together, why should anyone have the nerve to break in and take what they want.
    I know they probably didn’t plan what happened but anger takes over, doesn’t it?
    I’ve been waiting for this for a long time….you might hear more about vigilante groups…….It’s on the cards.

  5. January 22, 2008 21:27

    Having had a relative who got into the gang culture a few years ago but is now clean, from what I observed drugs and crime do seem to go hand in hand. It’s probably a case of the chicken and the egg, or perhaps neither lead to the other, but go hand in hand with cultural and peers influences.

    Still, I find the phrase you chose for the title quite ironic in terms of the subject at hand.

  6. IonU permalink
    January 23, 2008 06:25

    They should get a medal for services to the public, people are fed up with the courts treating these criminals with kit gloves and making every effort to not send them to prison (I don’t consider what they have done here a crime), and when they do send them down we pay to provide them with luxuries some people on the outside don’t have, such as 3 square meals and central heating they cant afford to have on. Successive governments have become soft on the criminal and then wonder why we have the problems we do today.

    I suspect this is just one example of actions that will become more common until the powers that be get a grip of the justice system, after all prison should be hell on earth once a person is convicted regardless of the offence committed and sentence passed. Prisons should be modelled on places like Bangkwang in Thailand; in order that once you have been there you make damn sure you don’t do anything to end up there again assuming you manage to survive your first incarceration period. We are talking 6X6 no windows, a bucket, and 6 to a cell. If they make a mess its there problem you just don’t let them out until it’s clean, worked so hard that you don’t have the energy to cause problems.

    Let’s assess what this group has done for the public;
    1. He won’t do it again.
    2. Its one less drug addled criminal.
    3. It’s saving the police time and us money because police won’t be arresting him on a regular basis anymore.
    4. It’s saving the public the cost of looking after him in prison.
    5. This is a guess but I bet he didn’t work for a living. So we are not paying his benefits anymore.
    All in all job well done after all you must be fed up of arresting the same people day in day out.

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