No charges to be brought against farm couple who bravely fought off burglary gang
A COUPLE who were arrested after a shooting incident during a burglary at their home will not face criminal charges, prosecutors have announced.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had made the decision not to take action against Andy and Tracey Ferrie after a senior official visited their home in Welby, Leicestershire.
In a statement released by the CPS, Judith Walker, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East Midlands, said: "Looking at the evidence, it is clear to me that Mr and Mrs Ferrie did what they believed was necessary to protect themselves, and their home, from intruders."
Mr and Mrs Ferrie were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after a legally-owned shotgun was fired during a break-in in the early hours of Sunday.
The couple were released on police bail yesterday as police announced that two men had been charged with burgling the property near Melton Mowbray.
In her statement, Ms Walker confirmed that Leicestershire Police had now been advised to release the couple from their bail.
Ms Walker said: "Earlier this afternoon, the head of the East Midlands Complex Casework Unit, Lawrence English, visited the scene of the incident to see for himself whether the accounts given by Mr and Mrs Ferrie were consistent with other evidence of what happened.
"As Crown Prosecutors we look at all cases on their merit and according to the evidence in the individual case.
"I am satisfied that this is a case where householders, faced with intruders in frightening circumstances, acted in reasonable self-defence.
"The law is clear that anyone who acts in good faith, using reasonable force, doing what they honestly feel is necessary to protect themselves, their families or their property, will not be prosecuted for such action.
"We have therefore advised Leicestershire Police that Mr and Mrs Ferrie should be released from their bail as they will not face any charges over what happened."
News that the couple will not face charges came hours after two men appeared at Loughborough Magistrates' Court charged with burglary.
Daniel Mansell, 33, from Leicester, pleaded guilty to the offence and was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on September 25.
Joshua O'Gorman, 27, who is also charged with burglary, gave no indication of plea and was remanded in custody to reappear before magistrates on September 14.
The court heard that Mr Ferrie, 35, and his 43-year-old wife went to bed at around 10.15pm on Saturday and were woken hours later by banging and the sound of breaking glass.
Sally Cook, prosecuting, said: "It is no secret that a shotgun was fired at the property."
She said Mansell, who appeared to have his arm in a sling under a grey sweatshirt, was injured inside the property and arrested later at hospital in Leicester.
Two other men, aged 23 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary and have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
The arrest of Mr and Mrs Ferrie after the incident at their isolated cottage has reopened the long-running debate about the rights of householders.
Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan, a Government minister, said the real crime would be if the couple were prosecuted for defending their home.
He said: "If this is a straightforward case of someone using a shotgun to defend themselves against burglars in the dead of night, then I would hope that the police will prosecute the burglars and not my constituents."
Meanwhile, Leicestershire Police said the decision not to press charges against the couple had been taken following a detailed criminal investigation.
In a separate statement to that issued by the CPS, the force said: "The Head of the CPS East Midlands complex casework unit and the Senior Investigating Officer have reviewed the evidence and the crime scene and the decision has been made to take no further action against the homeowners.
"This decision has been made as swiftly as possible following a detailed inquiry, forensic investigation of the scene, input from ballistics experts and extensive interviews with all parties involved.
"It is right that all incidences of this nature are looked at thoroughly and professionally and today's decision is made based on the findings of these investigations."
Mr Duncan said he was delighted the couple would not face further action.
He said: "I stuck my neck out in defence of my constituents on Monday.
"I'm delighted the CPS has seen sense and has exonerated them. The law has worked and so has the system.
"The focus must be on the burglars and not the victims. My constituents can hold their heads high."
He added: "I hope they can sleep happily and safely at home this evening."
Mr Duncan said he had spoken to the police about the incident.
"I did speak to the police today and impressed on them that the law would look very silly if my constituents were ever charged or prosecuted."
He said their shotgun licence should not be questioned by the police as a result of the incident.