Brave barber still troubled by memory of bloody break-in

IPSWICH: A courageous barber has spoken for the first time about how he tackled a burglar who he once employed as a member of staff.

The daring business owner, who wished only to be referred to as Pat, spoke modestly about his frantic encounter with teenage burglar Shaun Webber, which left him suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Pat has been plagued by the memory of the raid, which happened in January, and has been unable to return to work, fearing that his shop could be targeted again.

Webber, 18, from Spinner Close, Ipswich, was left with 30 lacerations to his backside, legs and groin area and is now serving an 18-month sentence at a young offenders’ institution after admitting burglary with intent to steal.

Pat, 44, who lives in the same building as his barber shop in Bramford Road, came home late in the evening with his partner Jess, to hear clattering sounds coming from the kitchen and before long came face to face with Webber, who he soon recognised.

“I heard smashing and thought the cat had knocked over some cups, but when I opened the kitchen door I was confronted by this hooded figure.

“I threw myself at him and realised I’d let him work in the shop for a week.”

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Pat had taken Webber under his wing just weeks before the burglary and had even offered to give him a motorcycle as a means of transport. But he found himself on the receiving end of Webber’s punches as he struggled to escape. The skirmish moved into the downstairs toilet, where Webber had entered the building by smashing his way through a small window.

As Webber attempted to flee, Pat grabbed hold of him, and the burglar became painfully stuck, straddling the razor-sharp glass he had earlier shattered.

Concerned about his worsening injuries, Pat was able to phone for an ambulance before notifying police, while Jess took over the job of restraining Webber.

When officers arrived, they were still grappling and Webber was bleeding heavily from his wounds.

Pat, who took on the shop nearly three years ago, suffered cuts to his hands following the confrontation, but the psychological effects have been longer lasting.

Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he hasn’t felt able to return to work since the attack on his home and business.

“I can forgive and forget,” he said. “He got what he deserved, but it was such a personal crime – committed by someone I trusted.

“I’ve been off work for six months and I’m finding it hard to reopen the door to customers. Anyone can walk in and that’s what is stopping me from going back to work.”

Webber was so badly injured that he had to be operated on after slashing a tendon on his right shin during the bungled raid.

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