An 84-year-old Cork-born pensioner who kept a billiard cue by his bed rammed it into the face of one intruder and used it to fend off another, a court in Luton has been told.
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 in the early hours of August 10th last year.
Roderick McDonald (52), of Luxembourg Close, Luton and Stephen Simons (44), of Brook Street, Luton deny aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Ring.
Mr Ring said he had woken at 5am on August 10th to use the toilet: “Then I heard glass breaking. I got out of bed. The nearest thing I could see was a billiard cue.”
The Corkman, who had lived in the house in the British city since 1965, said he had got the cue because he had been burgled previously: “I kept it near the bed because I expected the thieves to come back again.”
The first burglary had occurred just two months after the death of his wife in 2017. Then, £500 (€566) was taken from his wallet along with much of his late wife’s jewellery. Following that attack, he had installed CCTV and an alarm.
In court, Mr Ring said he had tried to frighten the latest burglars by turning on lights, but they had continued trying to break into his conservatory “as if I wasn’t there”.
He said he had “rammed” the billiard cue in the face of the first of the attackers: “He fell backwards and I thought they would disappear,” he said.
However, the second burglar “jumped over the first man and yanked the door” and “came in to fight me”.
"I hit him with the billiard cue a couple of times," he said, adding that he suffered cuts from a Stanley knife during the struggle. He raised the alarm by setting off the burglar alarm.
The room was “pulled to pieces” during the burglary: “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.”
In the witness box, Mr Ring's granddaughter, Emma Price, who was staying with Mr Ring that night, said she woke to the sound of smashing glass and raised voices.
“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’.”
Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the jury that DNA recovered from glass in the conservatory was swabbed and found to match Mr McDonald. CCTV from outside the house showed Mr Simons before he put on a balaclava, she said.
Mr 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.”
In court, Mr McDonald accepted he 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: “I have been a villain all my life. That is why I covered my face up,” he said.