An 84-year-old Luton man who kept a billiard cue by his bed after he was burgled ‘rammed’ it into in the face of one intruder and used it to fend off another.
Brave Irishman Michael Ring suffered fractured discs in his spine, a black eye, cuts to his wrists and bruising on the brain after taking on the two masked men.
He told a jury at Luton Crown Court: “The carpet and armchairs were covered in blood – mine unfortunately.
“I was taken to hospital. I was in a few days. I was in a lot of agony.”
On Tuesday, Roderick McDonald, 52, of Luxembourg Close, Luton and Stephen Simons, 44, of Brook Street, Luton were convicted of burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Michael Ring. They were cleared of aggravated burglary.
In the early hours of August 10 last year, Mr Ring was asleep downstairs at his home in Ashburnham Road, Luton when the men broke in through his conservatory.
Mr Ring, now 85, said granddaughter Emma Price was staying with him that night.
He said he had lived in the four bedroomed house since 1965. His wife died in April 2017 and two months later he was burgled. £500 was taken from his wallet along with a lot of of his late wife’s jewellery.
On that occasion the burglars forced their way in through conservatory and prised open French window doors to get into the living room. They moved a safe from the upstairs but were unable to get it down. After that break-in his son-in-law fitted an alarm and CCTV.
Mr Ring, who comes from Cork, said he woke at 5am on August 10 to use the toilet and was awake in bed when he heard a noise.
He went on: “Then I heard glass breaking. I got out of bed. The nearest thing I could see was a billiard cue.
“I kept it near the bed because I expected the thieves to come back again.
“I pulled back the curtain (in the living room) and I saw two gentlemen in the conservatory.
“There was a bolt holding the doors and they were having difficulty trying to get in.”
He said he saw a white man, McDonald, working on the bottom of the door and a black man, Simons, watching him.
Mr Ring, who walks with a crutch, said: “I switched on the light in the room hoping to deter them, but they continued as if I wasn’t there.”
He said he “rammed” the billard cue in the face of the white man saying: “He fell backwards and I thought they would disappear, but the black chap jumped over the first man and yanked the door. It opened and he came in to fight me.He came in to do battle.
“He came straight for me. He pushed me out of the way. I hit him with the billard cue a couple of times.”
Mr Ring said he suffered cuts from a Stanley knife in the struggle. He set the burglar alarm off and when the black man ran upstairs he was confronted by his granddaughter who had called the police, and was shouting at him.
The man ran back down stairs and kicked Mr Ring in the chest.
He said Simons ran out of the front of the house and McDonald, who had been ransacking the living room, escaped by the way he came in.
Mr Ring said the room had been “pulled to pieces” and he was bleeding everywhere.
In the witness box Emma Price said she was woken at 5am by the sound of smashing glass and voices.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it (a burglary) was happening again. I panicked and grabbed my mobile phone. I called 999 . I was in a state of shock.
“I could hear my grandad saying ‘Call the police.’”
Emma said she heard her granddad call out in pain. She went out of her room and saw a 6 foot tall man at the top of the stairs.
She said: “He had a hood up and something over his face. I shouted: ‘What the f... are you doing?’ I was angry and upset.”
“He turned and ran down the stairs into the porch. He legged it down the stairs.”
She said she locked the front door and saw her grandad on his back on the floor near the radiator. “He was covered in blood and he had some sort of stick in his hand and he was in a lot of pain. It looked like a snooker cue in his hand,” she said.
Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the jury that DNA recovered from broken glass on the floor in the conservatory was swabbed and found to match McDonald. CCTV from outside the house showed Simons before he put on a balaclava, she said.
When McDonald was arrested he stayed silent through police interviews. Simons told the police: “I never ever carry a weapon. I was there. I went to the address because Mr McDonald took me there for a smoke.”
DC Jason Wheeler told the jury that Simons was arrested in March after a press appeal.
The court heard that in June 2006 and June 2013 McDonald had been convicted of dwelling house burglaries.
In the witness box McDonald admitted he had been a “villain” all his life and was homeless at the time.
He said he accepted he was the white man who had gone to Mr Ring’s house.
He said: “I was looking for somewhere to stay, chill out and have a smoke. I was smoking weed.”
Asked why he had covered his face he said it was because he was known to the police.
“I have been a villain all my life. That is why I covered my face up,” he said.
He said he had gone into the conservatory because it was freezing. He said he and Simons were having a joint when a cue came through the window and hit him in the face.
McDonald denied trying to get into Mr Ring’s bedroom saying that after the cue hit him on the eye and tooth he went backwards. “I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible,” he said.
He said he did not take anything and was concentrating on getting out.
Asked by prosecutor Ms Delamare why he took a full face balaclava with him that August night, he replied: “To keep my head warm.”
Simons said McDonald had taken him to the house “for a smoke.”
Judge Richard Foster adjourned sentence until Friday. He remanded the men in custody.