Farmer who flipped car with forklift cleared after saying he was defending his ‘castle’

Farmer Robert Hooper argued an ‘Englishman’s home is his castle’ as he defended his actions last year when he used a forklift to forcibly move a car off his land

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Durham: Farmer uses forklift tractor to flip car

A farmer who ‘defended his home’ by flipping a car off his land with a forklift has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Robert Hooper, 57, argued in court an Englishman’s home is his castle and that he had been assaulted before he used his tractor to forcibly remove the Vauxhall Corsa last June.

Mobile phone footage showed him using a telehandler with forks to lift the £16,000 car from the lane outside his farm in Newbiggin-in-Teesdale, County Durham.

It was then flipped and pushed onto its side on the road outside.

Shirtless passenger Charlie Burns, 21, who had been visiting the area that day and had drunk up to seven bottles of lager, was knocked to the floor by the vehicle’s lifting forks.

The jury at Durham Crown Court cleared Mr Hooper of dangerous driving and criminal damage after a four-day trial at Durham Crown Court.







Robert Hooper with his partner Kate Henderson outside Durham Crown Court after being cleared
(

Image:

PA)

Mr Hooper told proceedings: “I felt threatened and an Englishman’s home is his castle, and my castle starts at that front gate.

“I thought we have a bit of a problem here, there’s two of them, half my age, I didn’t know what they had in terms of weapons, or what they were capable of doing.

“I thought if the car was off the property, that would be them off the property, out of the way.”







The car owner remonstrates with the farmer as his Vauxhall is moved
(

Image:

PA)







Charlie Burns on the ground after being clipped by the forklift
(

Image:

PA)

In his closing speech to the jury, Michael Rawlinson, defending, gave the origin of the saying, referring back to the judge Sir Edward Coke’s comments which set legal precedents in 1604.

Referring to arguments about how Mr Hooper could have acted differently that day, Mr Rawlinson also quoted the boxer Mike Tyson, saying: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Mr Burns had been drinking with friends at Low Force waterfall, and having consumed up to seven bottles of lager he was intending to walk 52 miles back to South Tyneside.







Mr Hooper argued an Englishman’s castle is his home as he was cleared in court
(

Image:

PA)

He told the jury he spotted his friend Elliott Johnson whose Corsa had suffered a double puncture, which was why they parked on the farmer’s lane.

In his closing remarks, David Ward, prosecuting, told the jury the Crown was not saying Mr Hooper was a “thug”, but that his actions were “utterly irrational” on the day.

Judge Ray Singh had outlined routes to verdict for the jury, explaining the law surrounding self-defence and a defendant protecting himself and his property.

Read More

Read More

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here