Brave OAP praises attackers sentence

AN “extremely brave” pensioner who was attacked by a teenage burglar in his own home last night welcomed the youth's three-year custodial sentence.

Annie Davidson

AN “extremely brave” pensioner who was attacked by a teenage burglar in his own home last night welcomed the youth's three-year custodial sentence.

Nathan Martin, 17, assaulted retired policeman Raymond Skillin as he burgled the 80-year-old's home for a second time.

Mr Skillin tackled Martin after finding him in the lounge of his home in Holly Road, Stanway, Colchester, on September 10.

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But the elderly man was headbutted and punched during the attack and also had one of his teeth knocked out.

Martin, of Blackberry Road, Stanway, who had admitted burglary and actual bodily harm, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday and was sent to a young offenders' institution for three years.

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He asked for three burglaries at houses in Dyers Road, Heath Road and Holly Road, all in Stanway, to be taken into consideration.

Neil Macaulay, prosecuting, said widower Mr Skillin was home alone when he went to investigate after hearing a noise and found Martin.

The teenager pushed his victim, who managed to grab him in a bear hug, but the pair then struggled and Mr Skillin was headbutted several times and also punched.

Martin fled the scene, leaving Mr Skillin on the floor which was where police officers later found him after he managed to crawl to the phone and call for help.

Mr Macaulay said the attack came a week after Mr Skillin had a cataract operation on one of his eyes which caused him a lot of worry.

He had also lost confidence and was not as sociable as he was before the incident, the court heard.

Martin showed no emotion as he was sentenced by Recorder Neil Garnham QC who also lifted a court order banning the teenager from being named after representations from the press.

He told him the attack had been “cowardly” and praised Mr Skillin for being “an extremely brave man.”

Roger Brice, mitigating, said the offences had happened at a point in time when Martin had drug problems and that he had not deliberately targeted his victim.

“It was never his intention to be confrontational. It was the last thing he wanted to happen,” said Mr Brice.

“The victim apprehended him. It was a robust apprehension and this was not what this young man wanted at all.”

Yesterday Mr Skillin said he was pleased with the sentence.

“It is what he deserved. I would have been disappointed if he had not gone to prison,” he said.

“I have lost a lot of confidence and it has affected me in other ways too.

“I have had to cancel my holiday as I cannot face going away.”

The pensioner, who served with Essex Police from 1950-1977, had earlier called himself “an ordinary bloke who has done my duty” and said he did not feel he was a hero.

Essex Police declined to release a picture of Martin saying it was not force policy to do so when the person was under 18 years old unless in exceptional circumstances.

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