A 47-year-old man who was put through a year of hellish court battles, after he attacked a burglar while protecting his family, has been cleared.
Carl Sinclair confronted Hughie Hendry after the criminal attempted to break into Sinclair’s family home.
Mr Sinclair admitted to punching Hendry and ended up being arrested – initially charged with assault – although magistrates increased this to ‘wounding’, a charge which carries a jail sentence of three years to life.
It took jurors just thirty minutes to clear Mr Sinclair of wounding Hendry, although for the last 11 months Carl’s life has been a living nightmare.
The stress of the arrest and the potential impact a jail sentence would have had on his family, cost him his job as a railway manager and he argues, he was made to feel like a ‘nasty criminal’.
Carl told The Mirror:
I was never the criminal but my life has been left in tatters. I’m just a dad and a husband who did what any man would do to protect his family.
Yet for 11 months I’ve been made to feel like a nasty criminal and faced going to prison for a long time.
We would have lost our house and my family would have been on the streets as I wouldn’t have been able to pay the mortgage.
How is that fair? I stop a well-known thug attacking us and breaking into our home and we are left with the risk of losing everything we have worked so hard for.
He went on to say, by sending him to court, the justice system was sending out the wrong message to the victims of a burglary, adding, it makes you feel like you can’t defend yourself.
Mr Sinclair confronted Hendry after he heard the would-be thief trying the front door at his family home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire – while his wife Nicola, 20-year-old son Ryan and daughters Natalie, 20, and Chelsea,16, slept.
Nicola then spotted Hendry attempting to get into the family car and fearing what he would do next, Carl rushed outside wielding a lump hammer, concerned Hendry may be armed.
My first priority was my family and home. I had no thoughts for my safety. Hendry was on our pathway.
He squared up to me. All I was worrying about was my kids’ throats being cut. I was so scared. Instinct took over.
My main aim was to stop him pulling out a knife. I wrestled Hendry to the floor. I did punch him but just enough to stop him coming back to hurt me or my family. It was all over in 20 seconds.
Following the jury’s decision, Carl admitted he was relieved before adding he believes victims should be protected not punished.
Hendry was sentenced to eight weeks for interfering with the family’s car.