Magistrate confronts burglar after dramatic midnight chase

A magistrate has told how he and his son confronted a burglar after a dramatic 20-minute midnight chase through the streets.

Friday, 28th February 2014, 2:42 pm
Picture: Martin NaylorCaption for these pics: Arjun Atwal, 20 and his father Councillor Ajit Atwal, 43, who chased and helped catch a burglar who tried to break into their home, in Burton Road, Derby, in the early hours of December 28, 2013.

Ajit Atwal pursued Chesterfield man Darren Richardson in Littleover after he tried to break into their home.

Richardson was due to be sentenced yesterday after being found guilty of attempted burglary – but failed to turn up at court. A warrant has now been put out for his arrest.

Mr Atwal, of Burton Road, Littleover, said: “I had just got home and was getting a soft drink from the fridge.

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“My son was sat at the kitchen table eating some food and turned to me and said, ‘dad, someone has just tried to get in the kitchen door’.

“He opened it and saw a man while I opened a different door and saw him run off and scale an 8ft wall.

“Arjun ran to the car and we set off after him down Burton Road.

“I know the area like the back of my hand so I knew he would eventually come out further down the road.”

Magistrates heard how Richardson fled down Whittaker Street, on to Vicarage Avenue, then doubled back on to Whittaker Street for a second time before heading into Uplands Avenue, where he was found by the Atwals.

During the chase, Richardson, 32, who was staying with his mother in Bloomfield Close, Derby, at the time of the offence, escaped twice.

But the Atwals didn’t give up.

Mr Atwal said: “I suddenly saw him and got out the car and confronted him. I said to him, ‘you’ve just tried to break into my house’ and he put his hand in his pocket.

“I thought he had a blade in there.”

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard that the drama unfolded at 11.45pm on December 27.

Mr Atwal said his grandparents, who are both in their 80s, were sleeping in the room next to where the attempted break-in happened.

The 43-year-old said: “For me the most pleasurable thing is that he was caught.

“I am not going to stand back and let someone try and get inside my house and take the things that my family has worked so hard for.

“But what if he had got inside the house? That is the most worrying thought for me.”

Richardson, who now lives in Oakamoor Road, Chesterfield, told the court that he was in Derby as his girlfriend was in the Royal Derby Hospital after an “unintentional drug overdose”.

He claimed he had scaled a wall to get into the courtyard of the Atwal’s home as he was being chased by a car of youths who had called him “a junkie”.

He told the court he was “frightened for his life” and denied trying to break into the house.

He also claimed the Atwals had threatened him.

But magistrates found him guilty of attempted burglary on Tuesday and he was due to be sentenced yesterday.

Mr Atwal’s son Arjun, 20, was asked by David Horne, Richardson’s solicitor, if he and his father went after the defendant because they “wanted retribution for him being on their property”. He replied: “No, we wanted to make sure he was caught by the police.

“I was just sat at the table and heard the latch sound.

“I unbolted it and saw the man stood there.

“I didn’t say anything to him, I shouted my dad and the man set off and scaled the wall to escape.”

Speaking after the trial Mr Atwal said: “The police were absolutely fantastic.

“I am delighted the magistrates saw through Mr Richardson’s tissue of lies.”

Inspector Richard Keene said: “This is an excellent example of the police and the community working together to identify the suspect, arrest him and bring him to justice.”