'How I tackled teenage burglar' - OAP

A PENSIONER has told of the terrifying moment when he encountered a teenage burglar in his front room.

Elliot Furniss

A PENSIONER has told of the terrifying moment when he encountered a teenage burglar in his front room.

Retired policeman Raymond Skillin, 80, tackled the 17-year-old and was injured as the youth tried to get away.

But Mr Skillin, who was repeatedly head-butted by his attacker, said he was not a hero, just an “ordinary bloke doing his duty”.

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The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday where he admitted breaking into Mr Skillin's home and attacking him on September 10.

Speaking from his home in Holly Road, Stanway, near Colchester, yesterday, Mr Skillin re-lived the horrifying incident.

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“I was just sitting in my lounge in my chair at 3pm in the afternoon and I heard a 'click' and I thought 'that's funny'.

“No more than 30 seconds later I heard another click. I went out and looked in the kitchen and in the back bedroom but, unbeknown to me, he was in the front bedroom and he came into the lounge.

“I came in and he stood there, head down, saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry'. He came for me and I got him in the corner - I was holding him and he head-butted me several times.

“Eventually the strength started to go and I ended up on the floor and there (on the floor) was my false teeth and he had knocked one of my teeth out.”

He said that as well as being head-butted by the burglar, he was also punched several times in the face and was left with cuts and bruises.

Mr Skillin, who served Essex Police for more than 26 years before becoming a driving instructor, said: “He attacked me because he wanted to get away. I just wanted to hold him. I thought 'you're not going to get away from me'.

“The police were here within four minutes. About 10 hours later there was a knock at the door and the police told me they had got him.

“The night they all left me here I was frightened out of my life and even now, this morning, there was a noise and I wondered what it was - and it was my mobile phone.

“In my mind he's nothing but a hooligan. I'm not a hero, I'm an ordinary bloke who has done my duty.”

Mr Skillin, who worked across Essex between 1950 and 1977 as a traffic officer, said he had also had his home burgled in February last year, while his wife Agnes was in hospital with terminal cancer.

She died not long after but Mr Skillin said he had not been able to tell her about the incident as he did not want to trouble her.

Mr Skillin lost his only son Andrew, also a former Essex police traffic officer, to cancer five years ago.

He said he had to cancel his upcoming holiday due to the after-effects of the latest incident, which had led to him losing a lot of his confidence.

Yesterday the 17-year-old, dressed in a light blue Nike T-shirt and navy blue jogging bottoms, admitted burgling Mr Skillin's home and assaulting him and also asked for three other offences to be taken into consideration.

Judge David Turner QC said it was a “thoroughly unpleasant episode” and he would bear in mind the nature of the assault when it came to sentencing.

He said: “His (the defendant's) life has clearly taken a very worrying direction.”

The youth will be sentenced on December 15.

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