Andrew Woodhouse at his place of business (courtesy telegraph.co.uk)

“Landscape gardener Andrew Woodhouse [above], 44, was on trial facing assault charges on the two raiders he found stealing diesel from his business,” telegraph.co.uk reports. “A jury heard how Woodhouse grabbed a fence post one was carrying as a weapon and used it to fight back against them. The father-of-five — who says he has repeatedly been a victim of crime at his gardening company — detained the two burglars until police arrived. But the court was told it was Woodhouse who was then arrested and accused of using excessive force.” Yup. Mr. Woodhouse faces a maximum sentence of life in prison . . .

“Where are we in society when a person cannot act in self-defence to protect his property?” his lawyer asked the court. Why, you’re in the UK of course! That said, Mr. Woodhouse forgot to STFU when the Old Bill arrived. “I swung out like a mad man between six and ten times. I was just lashing out man, I was hitting as hard as I could.” Should it have been a DGU? Well that depends . . .

Texas is one of the few states in these here United where a man can use a gun to protect his property. If Mr. Woodhouse lived in the Lone Star State, he could have defended his fuel with his firearm. Personally, I don’t recommend bearing arms simply to save stuff. Especially if you live in a country where the citizens no longer have the right to keep and bear arms. If Mr. Woodhouse had aimed a shotgun in the thieves’ direction or, God forbid, shot one, no question he would have gone to jail. If he’d used a handgun? Life fer sure.

While we’re at it, what about deterrence? Does the fact that UK subjects are disarmed encourage thievery? What do you think?

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121 Responses to It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use: Too Late to Move to Texas Edition

  1. How dare this man not surrender his property to the thieves! So uncivilized to greet your attacker with a stick instead of biscuits and Earl Grey.

    To the dungeon with him! A proper Brit contributes his property to the community with a smile,not a club.

  2. I’m all for Texas’ use of force for property law, be it from bat to pepper spray to firearm. I personally would prefer not to, but the option needs to exist as well; why shouldn’t you be able to defend your property? Hey, if the thief thinks it’s worth the risk to his life for some property, that’s the risk he’s choosing to take.

    • Just to be clear for those not familiar, the law in Texas allows you to use deadly force to defend or retrieve property only if you reasonably believe that it can’t be protected or retrieved without deadly force. There is no lower limit to the value of the property at risk.

    • If you’re only allowed to defend yourself against a direct threat against your life, what’s to prevent a thief from simply taking what he pleases of your property? At what point does lethal force become…well, allowable, for lack of a better word?

      Make no mistake, I have no problem with defense-of-property laws. Sometimes I just wonder what it would take for me to pull the trigger, God forbid.

      • In most cases while you may not be able to apply lethal force to protect property you are not required to allow the thief to take what he wants. You have every right to stop or even detain him. If he escalates the conflict you are allowed to respond in kind. As I read it this man would have been within his rights to apply deadly force as soon as multiple assailants attacked him with a weapon. I know if that were me they would have caught lead before I would ever have tried to fight two men for control of a blunt weapon.

    • I come at this from a different direction. Forcing me to work for you is called slavery, but if you steal from me, you have done the equivalent after the fact: you have stolen my labor in the form of the goods you stole. It doesn’t matter whether I made the goods you stole or whether I bought them, because the money I use to buy things was earned by my labor.

      As far as I’m concerned. theft is slavery, no different from holding a gun to my head to make me work directly for you. Just as that would justify deadly defense, so would theft of any sort.

      Or put it another way: just as government exists only to compel or prohibit, and it all comes down to government’s threat to shoot me if I don’t obey, so does theft. There really is no difference.

      Or a third way: whether you use a finger in a pocket or a bomb strapped to my chest, your threat is proof that you have already valued my property more than you value my life, and therefore I am justified in the same, in valuing my property more than I value your life.

      • I am going to add two more dimensions to your points.

        First, the thief who steals someone’s property could quite literally be causing their death. Consider a person with very little income who has to take a certain medication to survive. The thief who takes that person’s money or property puts the victim in a position where they must choose between between various death sentences because of their limited resources: either use money to buy food but no medication, use money to buy medication but no food, use money to replace a stolen item (such as a heater) but no food nor medication, etc.

        Second, if the thief truly is an “honest” person who is at the end of their rope and stealing to survive (versus stealing to support a drug habit), I submit that theft is not necessary. Who among us would tell a person to go away empty handed if they knocked on our door, were visibly thin from starvation, and asked for a sandwich or a can of stew?

        I realize that communists progressives love forced charity. That doesn’t change the fact that it is morally wrong. Let people who have the resources and the desire be charitable. Let everyone else work to the point that they have enough resources to be charitable.

  3. Sure it does. A fella there to steal dosen’t give a hot s**t ’bout the law. He/she knows you ain’t holding, so game on.

    • The effect of two world wars and the loss of empire combined to empower the pacifist-to-a-fault mentality.

      One may observe that the real wealth in Britain is neatly contained in two places. In the square mile of the City you find the money, securities, and profits…and these are defended heavily, including Special Weapons Units and their vans with machine guns. The other form of great wealth is in land, vast parcels of land running for fifty or a hundred miles under the ownership of individuals. No punk can affect the landed property of the dukes of Westminster, Kent, and others. The little guy, in their view, doesn’t need defense, but rather regular humiliation so that he’ll learn to “know his place.”

      Every section of the British upper class, the ‘nobility,’ the City bankers, the minor industrial elite, is protected heavily by men with guns. These people want sheep, preferably profitable sheep, beneath them. That’s no surprise. It is the history of power elites in every age, not the least our own.

  4. To be fair, I think we should look at other countries besides Britain. Mix up the news a little. There’s plenty of statism in the world. TTAG has been banging on about Mexico and Britain for weeks now.

    Also, Texas is not a paradise for gun rights: 30.06…

      • Beg permission? You mean filling out the paperwork for the shall issue permit system?

        Oh, that reminds me, I’m gonna go down to the post office Monday and beg permission to vote by filling out my voter registration card, you know, for my what should be voting rights.

        • I think he means open carry. I’m not a fan of it, but here in Kentucky it’s a right with no government permission needed. One of these days, when Texas grows up, maybe it can be as firearms friendly as KY.

          Or, he means one of the Constitutional carry states where no permission is needed whatsoever to exercise a right.

        • I would love to see a day when the whole country is Constitution friendly, maybe one day America will grow up, or wake up might be more appropriate.

        • Yep, beg permission, hat in hand, from your masters;cause if you don’t get your permission slip from your masters to practice your privilege, you get to spend a long time in jail and if you don’t obey your masters and refuse to go to jail for practicing what should be a right, the enforcers will shoot you down like a dog; which they do so well.

          Your a servant ROHC. Smile and try to make your self feel better that you are a servant to the state.

        • Oh, so on which ivory tower do you sit, Thomas?

          Tell me which state can a humble, lowly servant like myself move to, so that I maybe become the complete master of my own fate, free from any governmental intervention, such as yourself?

          Oh and, Thomas, don’t forget to file your federal taxes and to pay your property taxes this years, so YOUR master doesn’t come bursting through your front door at night, kill your dog, haul you off to jail, and seize your home and property, you self-righteous prick…

          Smile Thomas, you’re servant and you don’t even know it.

        • It’s OK ROHC, the truth does hurt. When you get angry at something someone says, it’s because you know it’s true.

          I don’t disagree with you ROHC; we all have become servants of the state; I OC here in New Mexico without a license, but I would conceal carry if we were a constitutional carry state. Taxation isn’t a good example of this servitude; all the different gun restrictions are; also no knock warrants, asset forfeiture, the Patriot Act, being strip searched at the airport, Sobriety check points, NDAA, and now the final proof of the attempted ownership of all of us as cattle and servants of the state; Obama care.

          But trying to deny this servitude when you get a Concealed carry license is not helping to push back against the tyranny that has become the norm of our times.

        • I’m not denying the infringement of the 2nd A by such things as permit systems, restrictions, etc.

          But, I’m calling out self-righteous posturing, it’s assinine when Texans do it, and when people from other states do it as well.

      • “Beg permission? You mean filling out the paperwork for the shall issue permit system?”

        “Oh, that reminds me, I’m gonna go down to the post office Monday and beg permission to vote by filling out my voter registration card, you know, for my what should be voting rights.”

        In your own words ROHC; you were replying to John and his statement about begging permission from the state to get a CCL; I’m glad you actually agree that a shall issue permitting system is an infringement of our civil rights; which is what this whole discussion was about.

    • UK Firearms law is a bit more complicated than that as you may use reasonable force to defend your property and life, this case was about what is reasonable, if you carry on attacking a person once the immediate threat has gone you are no longer acting in defence and confess to that then you get charged. Are you permitted to turn self defence (threatened) into assault (no threat) in the USA?

      Personally I have a Browning fetish (11), using them for for sporting purposes without any legal difficulties whatsoever. I guess thats not so different to your laws.The real difference between us is that self defence is not a legal justification for possessing firearms, albeit you might use one if your life is threate ed by another with a firearm.

      • No, in fact it is entirely possible to attack someone and eventually kill them and have it be a legitimate self defense action if the victim over escalated the conflict. The question is was it reasonable for the victim in this case to continue attacking considering he was poorly armed and out numbered? Is it not legal to detain suspects in the UK? Presumably if it is legal to detain them and if the suspects in trying to escape posed a physical threat the defender retains the right to self defense. The idea over here is that the system there is designed to discourage self defense by making the consequences bad enough to possibly out weigh the consequences of an assault.

      • Life in prison a reasonable punishment then?
        If people knew they would get the shit beat out of themselves for stealing maybe they would reconsider the acts.

  5. Apparently the thieves were not aware of the “if you carry a fence post it’s 40 times more likely to be used against you” statistic

    • It was the business owner who wielded the fence-post. And yes, you’re so right. He might even have turned the fence-post on himself! Let this be a lesson, Shannon: After you grab guns, you must quickly move on to fence-posts and umbrellas.

      • Missed your point. Got it. But the owner was the only one who picked it up for self-defense…which led to my miss. “Only by making fence posts difficult for criminals to obtain can we reduce fence-post crime.” It all seems so strange, the UK SD law.

  6. Sounds like self defense, the heat of the moment, etc. Sadly, England lost it’s balls after WWI, and has been fighting a retreating action ever since. We should take up a collection to get this man a green card!

  7. “I swung out like….as I could.” -should have been “Oh bloody hell, the ole’ chap fell down on Her Highness’s fence post while stealing the royal petrol.” I didn’t know subjects could own property.

  8. In Maryland one of our esteemed leaders wants to make a it a crime not to follow the lawful orders of a 911 operator. True. This has danger written all over it in more ways than Charlie Sheen has had his many porn star girlfriends.

    In Maryland, if this passes, the new rule will be not only STFU, but lose the phone until much later after you’ve dealt with the miscreant, to avoid a 911 op that tells you to do something stupid that puts your life in danger.

    • This is stupid. The 911 operator isn’t even there so how can they know best how to handle that particular situation? They don’t!

      • Worse than stupid, its downright dangerous. Miscreants are well known to call into 911 and claim to be the victim to try to get away. Poorly paid people in law enforcement like correctional officers are well known (in MD) to be gang members (the just indicted countless officers). You only sure option is not to call 911 until after.

        But, this is where our leaders are taking us.

        • There are several reasons I left the “free state” … and it seems to keep getting worse.

          I feel for the good folks who are still there.

        • Chip, it’s now the “Formerly Free State.” The politicians have lately come to recognize this, and have taken to using her other nickname, the “Old Line State.”

    • What’s with Maryland? Really. Does it have some special barrel of miscreants of whom everyone is afraid, but who can still pass a NICS check? It just seems odd. Is the paranoia about race? I’m starting to think that’s the big unspoken fear. Pretty ugly.

      • This is what happens when Democrats get to rule unchecked and unopposed. The lobby of the House of Delegates is a reincarnation of Tammany Hall in NYC or City Hall in Chicago.

    • HB21:
      http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?stab=01&pid=billpage&tab=subject3&ys=2014rs&id=HB0021

      “Prohibiting a person from willfully disobeying a lawful instruction from a 9-1-1 operator responding to the person’s call for emergency assistance”

      and no, it does not provide that I can sue if the police do not get there in time. If there is someone burglarizing my house, and the 911 operators says the police are on the way don’t do anything, retreat to the bedroom – I gotta obey? eff that.

      • Yes, Your Honor, I fully intended to obey the instructions of the 911 operator, but between the sound of the intruder breaking through my door and the report of my GLOCK I couldn’t hear a word he was saying.

    • Easy solution to this problem – call 911, announce the problem and your address, then put the phone down without hanging up. You can then take care of business without having to listen to or obey any stupid shit from the fat cop wannabe sitting safely in the 911 office.

    • For those who say the “easy” solution is to call, leave your name and hang up, no. There are just far to many ways this can go south, depending on how the 911 ops are trained.

      “911 don’t hang up, state your emergency”
      “911, don’t do anything until the police arrive, state your emergency”

      See how that works? They can be trained to provide commands that disarm you and deprive you of your rights without prompting, before you even get a chance to state your emergency.

      And, once they issue some blanket command to protect themselves and say they tried to stop somebody’s boy Travon from being shot during an assault or robbery, this law puts the burden of proof on the caller to prove why they did not follow the lawful instruction.

      I am not really sure what the chances of this bill getting passed are, but just the fact that it was brought up is scary and shows how far these people want to go.

  9. There is no right to remain silent in the UK. Subjects are pressured to speak to authorities, and frequently do so, even when it goes directly against their best interests.

    The 5th amendment is a significant improvement over English common law.

    • Hey AG, been a while!

      Yes, the fact the UK doesn’t have a written Constitution with an equivalent of the Bill of Rights would make living there a out of the question for me.

      In my opinion, and I know this isn’t a grandiose insight or something, it’s the Bill of Rights that makes this country great and something worth preserving.

    • There is a right to remain silent BUT if you fail to mention something upon which you later rely on your defense that CAN be used against you. Thank you Margaret Thatcher.

      • Here nothing you say can be used in your defense. It is reduced to hearsay where as that same information used in your conviction is evidence. This seems un fair to people who want to talk their way out of things but what it really dose is clarify your best option. Request a lawyer and STFU if they either detain or question you. At most if they press you for answers ask if you are being detained. If not leave if so read above.

    • Officer, I saw the culprits tresspassing and stealing my stuff. I snuck up on them and yelled “boo” quite loudly. It must have scared them nearly to death because they ran into this post I was holding. Several times, over and over. Can you imagine my horror?

  10. So you dial 911, request service, then hang up. The ball stays in their court, and you carry on defending yourself as needed.

  11. They let Muslims slice a soldiers head off in a crowded street in the daytime. That’s all you need to know about the character of the modern Brits.

    And Robert, you’re only one step removed from them if you still can’t comprehend why deadly force is appropriate to defend property.

  12. “The people of the U.K. are even more mentally ill than the people of the US”

    These laws and prosecutions are NOT popular — the subjects in the UK have not *asked* for any of this. Our friends in the UK have a large house & property (understatement) near Cambridge — they have chronic problems with property crime and there is much more violence overall in their rural area. If their property was here in VT — they would probably have zero crime issues AND could be as armed as they like.

  13. After far too many colonial wars and two World Wars, the best of the Brits did not survive to propagate the species. Modern England is what you get when your gene pool is like a fetid Louisiana swamp.

  14. I think UK voters are simply torn. Without guns, the lower-class yobs abuse them. They do have to fear, though, that if pistols and self-defense are once again made legal, the upper class will start whimsically shooting peasants again.

    Not an easy choice. And the royals, the nobility, have such pretty clothes and horses. What is the poor little middle class to do? [Statistical note: Outside of Greater London fully 50% of the adults are either on welfare or work for the government. To translate, that’s fully 50% of the voters outside Greater London.]

    • Actually their biggest fear is that their sweet nephew Nigel will enter the “twit olympics” a la Monty Python. And you know what the winner of that gets…

  15. If you don’t have the right to use deadly force to protect your property, then you have no right to own property. Anybody who wants it could just walk off with it anytime they want. Possesion is nine points, and all that, so good luck trying to recover it.

    Let’s ask John Adams:

    Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which, perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.–On Private Revenge, September 5, 1763.

    • It does seem simple: Texas was a very hard place. Still is in parts. Most voters lived on the economic margin, and there were Banditos to think about.

      If one steals a $10,000 watch from a rich person, it barely touches their net wealth, and it is insured. Just buy a new one, shinier! If a marginal Texas auto-repair guy had his tools stolen, he may well have been ruined. Depends who makes the laws: “The law in its majesty forbids the rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges.” Anatole France

    • Sorry, Sam, but the Constitution is a living, breathing and evolving compact that must be re-interpreted and applied according to the evolving standards of a progressive, civilized society. As a result, the quote you offer is also subject to re-interpretation and application to comply with the norms of today’s modern society. Henceforth, it has been determined that the quote you cite shall be amended as follows:

      Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is not an indisputable right of nature and must be surrendered to the public by the compact of society; and which I shall surrender for the benefit of my family, neighbor and that of government.–On Private Revenge, September 5, 1763.

    • You are still not required to surrender your property. If someone is robbing you act to stop them, even detain them as is your right. If in response they escalate the encounter you may just have the need for deadly force. The sad part is if you simply use the presence of your firearm to discourage a criminal (surely that is better all around than blood shed right?) you can be charged with brandishing assault and several other crimes, even in Texas. IMO laws against open Cary artificially bias SD events to end in shootings. I know a man who pulled his gun early enough to discourage three thugs from trying to take his dog. But legally he was in the wrong legally he should have allowed things to get to the point he was in severe danger before responding in a way that may have ended lives or at least lead to injury and costly litigation.

  16. This man will go to jail and he will lose everything he’s ever worked for when these two perps sue him.
    What the gov’t is saying to him is you have no right to your property and the only way we are going to let you keep it is if no crime is reported to use. In other word this means is he should have beat them to death and used his equipment to bury the bodies deep.

  17. “Does the fact that UK subjects are disarmed encourage thievery? What do you think?”

    It is not just the fact that U.K. subjects are disarmed that encourages thievery. It is even more so the fact that U.K. subjects will likely go to prison if they use force to defend themselves.

    • Not only have they set up an environment conducive to criminal activity of all sorts, they seem to have given it an honored position in the heirarchy of chosen professions….

  18. The fact that citizens are not protesting the arrest of this business owners says that they have lost their balls and that the government has become a kleptocracy.

  19. I s’pose he was expected, once he’d disarmed his attacker, to use only his fists.

    Or perhaps only one fist, if his are too large or strong.

    Christ on a crutch!

  20. Those Europeans sure are sophisticated, I thought a criminal was like…a no good pos. Now I find out that you must have tea & crumpets awaiting for these most valuable members of society. Jolly old England, where steak knives aren’t just for dinner anymore, Randy

    • If you read the bio’s of TTAG writers most of them live in Texas. They write articles showing how gun friendly TX is and how it can be improved. So don’t get butt hurt when they pick on your home state, at least you don’t live in Michigan near the D.

  21. “…Mr. Woodhouse forgot to STFU when the Old Bill arrived. “I swung out like a mad man between six and ten times. I was just lashing out man, I was hitting as hard as I could.””

    That’s just asinine police work. Or the cops are outright anti-self defense. There’s no reason that bit of nervous rambling had to go in the report. If it’s obviously a good shoot, or good fence posting as it were, a good cop would have no problem reminding an individual “You know, you do have the right to remain SILENT. You can WAIT ON YOUR ATTORNEY. ANYTHING YOU SAY can be used in court…”

  22. Mr Woodhouse will most certainly be robbed again in court as the criminals sue him for injuries and damages. They they will have a landscaping business they can use to better themselves. Perhaps using it to rob people by pretending to be employed as landscapers.

  23. Well now jerry knows if he gets off from this one to finish the crooks off and bury them really really deep with his gardening equipment the next Time it happens.

    • I didn’t read the story but the title in the link made me laugh. “After attacking thieves”. I bet if those thieves had been wielding a weapon against a cop before being taken down the story wouldn’t read ” cop attacks thief!”

  24. This once great nation’s efforts to pacify its population is hastening the preparation of its people to become dhimmis and submit themselves to the will of Allah.

  25. Not to rain on anyone’s parade. But, obama has announced, more than once, he intends to by pass congress to push his agendas. He has simply told the federal courts that have ruled against him that he does not agree with their decision, and carries on. He is coming for us all, eventually. The Constitution be damned.

  26. Woodhouse had already been found not guilty 2 days prior to the story published here.

    The author’s claim that “If Mr. Woodhouse had aimed a shotgun in the thieves’ direction or, God forbid, shot one, no question he would have gone to jail.” is wrong. It’s legal to use lethal force if, at the time, someone thinks it’s necessary to defend themselves. Even cannabis farmers get to shoot people in self-defence:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-25219767

    Most newspaper articles mention cases where the use of force is contentious. However, even a little bit of effort brings up articles about people using lethal force without being charged, e.g.:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-14248097
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-15211250

    Anyone interested in how the law actually works can find general information here:
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/householders.html

    • Okay, just saw Jamie’s post above, so nevermind. Although still crazy IMO if he was facing life in prison over detaining the men.

  27. And I was carrying an ASP baton with me when I was visiting the UK after getting robbed once, and almost robbed the 2nd time. If I had defended myself with that against the numerous muggers that traveled in groups, I would have been a star on Natgeo’s “Imprisoned Abroad”. Cop told me the first time I was robbed, “Don’t let this give you a bad impression of the country..” Oh yes it is, and it’s worse than that!

  28. We decided this 239 years ago next month when the government agents came out to collect our weapons. Shots were fired, and as they say… the rest is history. Not to worry, though. We have several states in the NEW England area who would be happy to follow UK law. Starting in NEW YORK City.

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