'Englishman's home is his castle' Farmer cleared after flipping car off his land – VIDEO

Fourth-generation hill farmer Robert Hooper told Durham Crown Court he felt frightened and threatened when he took the action, but argued an Englishman’s home is his castle. He told the court he had been assaulted before he used his telehandler vehicle to remove the Corsa in County Durham last June.

Kate Henderson said her partner had been through eight months of hell.
Supporters cheered the couple outside court after the jury cleared Mr Hooper, 57, at the end of a four-day trial.

Ms Henderson said: “The overwhelming support of the local community and people from afar have kept him going during these last eight months of hell.
“We welcome the jury’s verdict and are thankful for it.”

Jurors were shown mobile phone footage during the trial in which the lifting rails of Mr Hooper’s vehicle struck Charlie Burns, who had been visiting Low Force waterfall with friends.

The 21-year-old had drunk up to seven bottles of lager, was knocked to the floor by the rails.

Mr Burns’ friend, Elliott Johnson, had parked the car at Mr Hooper’s property in Newbiggin-in-Teesdale after getting two punctures.

Mr Hooper told the court Mr Burns had punched him when he politely asked the men to leave because they were blocking access to his property.

Jurors heard that he was aware of an influx of young people visiting the area that summer, causing anti-social behaviour, littering and damaging walls.

Mr Hooper claimed Mr Burns punched him twice through the window of his farm vehicle he was driving, bursting his lip.


“I felt threatened and an Englishman’s home is his castle, and my castle starts at that front gate.”

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

The prosecution argued Mr Hooper had acted “utterly irrationally”.

However, in reply Mr Rawlinson quoted the boxer Mike Tyson, saying: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

The court heard Mr Hooper had had a busy day baling silage and had returned to the farm for his tea, meaning to carry on working afterwards.

Mr Burns said he had intended to walk 52 miles back to South Tyneside.

Judge Ray Singh had advised the jury on routes towards a verdict, explaining the law surrounding self-defence and a defendant protecting himself and his property.

Fellow farmers welcomed the verdicts outside the court on Friday.

William Wearmouth said Mr Hooper was absolutely first-class and a hard-working man who would help anyone with anything.

Another farmer, John Dickinson, described it as a really good result for the local area.

He added: “Robert is a very decent, upstanding man who shouldn’t have to have gone through all this.”

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