Disabled dad tackles burglar during break in at family home in Ardleigh

Stephen Ellis battled with burglars who entered his home on Friday when all three of his children we

Stephen Ellis battled with burglars who entered his home on Friday when all three of his children were home. - Credit: Su Anderson

A disabled father tackled an intruder at his family home as he feared for his children’s safety.

Stephen Ellis was returning from the pub when he spotted the stranger inside his Harwich Road, Ardleigh, home.

Mr Ellis, concerned for the safety of his three children – including autistic son Sammy, five – he clambered into his house through a window left open by the burglars and jumped onto the man’s back.

He managed to land several punches to his face before a second intruder dealt him a blow and caused him to lose his grip, and the pair ran off.

The incident happened on Friday, the day of Mr Ellis’ daughter Lily’s eighth birthday party, between 9.45-10.15pm

Mr Ellis, 47, said: “We couldn’t get a cab home from the pub so my wife Danielle came to pick me up leaving our daughter Molly, 15, keep an eye on the others, before we managed to flag down a taxi.

“I dived on the man from the window sill and hit him a number of times in the face. I was trying to get a good description of him and restrain him from getting away.

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“He was quite a skinny chap and I’m 17 stone, though I’m partially disabled myself after an industrial accident three years ago left me semi-paralysed down my right side, and I don’t really know how I did it.

“It is the damage it has done to my kids. The girls heard the smash of glass and hid under the covers.

“It was a scary experience, the whole ordeal has been horrendous.

“The children won’t sleep in their own beds and my wife can’t stop crying.

“It is heart-wrenching that people can do things which affect so many people’s lives.

“Whether I would have done that without having had three or four pints I don’t know. I don’t think I would do it again.

“My kids and wife were going through my head, I was thinking the worst. I thought ‘how dare you come into my house and scare my family’.

“I was not trying to be a hero, I was just protecting my family.

“I keep wondering what would have happened if I was five minutes later.

“These people are dangerous and need to be caught.”

Mr Ellis suffered a cut hand and some bruised ribs.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “We would commend Mr Ellis for his actions in attempting to apprehend the suspected burglars.

“However, he could have ended up being more seriously hurt and it is for this reason we would strong encourage people to consider their own safety first at all times.”

Police are keen to speak to anyone who recognises the description of the two men, especially if one has recent facial injuries.

Both suspects were black and aged 25-30. One was 5ft 11ins tall and of skinny build, the other 5ft 6ins and of stocky build.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Dave Brooks at Clacton CID, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.