Man cleared after chasing thieves

A MAN who chased after a youth who stole his car has spoken of his relief after a jury cleared him of trying to drive the thief off the road and assaulting him.

A MAN who chased after a youth who stole his car has spoken of his relief after a jury cleared him of trying to drive the thief off the road and assaulting him.

Michael Bridger said he had done what he thought was right at the time and could not believe the case had been taken to court.

"I would do exactly the same thing if I was put in that situation again. I think the law should be changed so that people have more standing to protect their property and themselves," he added.

"At the end of the day I was at home minding my own business when someone comes along and steals my car. What are you meant to do - let them just drive off in it?"


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Mr Bridger, 20, of Middlewood Green, near Stowmarket, had denied dangerous driving and assaulting a 16-year-old youth, causing him actual bodily harm.

A jury at Ipswich Crown Court took an hour yesterday to find Mr Bridger not guilty of both offences.

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A court heard Mr Bridger had been in his garage having a cigarette when he had heard someone drive off in his Ford Sierra.

Mr Bridger and a friend jumped into a Volvo, which he also owned, and gave chase. He was alleged to have tried to drive the Sierra off the road and then to have reversed the Volvo at the youth when he tried to escape on foot.

It was also claimed Mr Bridger kicked and punched the teenager before taking him back to his house and contacting the police.

The court heard the boy, who cannot be named by order of the court, had already admitted taking Mr Bridger's car without consent.

Giving evidence, Mr Bridger said he had "nudged" into the back of the Sierra on two occasions, but denied trying to run the car off the road. "I would have only caused more damage to both of my cars by doing that," he added.

He admitted reversing his car after the youth and another boy when they tried to run off, but denied deliberately knocking the 16-year-old over.

Mr Bridger said he had pushed the youth into a ditch and had then kicked him twice and punched him three times because he feared he had a weapon.

The 20-year-old, whose wife is expecting their second child in June, said he had feared for his own safety and had stopped when the boy said he was only aged 16.

N What do you think of Mr Bridger's actions? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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