Welby farm shooting couple won't be charged
A couple arrested after two burglars were shot at their home will not face criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.
Andy and Tracey Ferrie were detained following the incident at Welby Cottage, in Welby, near Melton, in the early hours of Sunday.
Mr Ferrie told police he had fired a legally-held shotgun after a group of men entered his home at about 12.30am.
The incident reignited the debate over the rights of householders to defend themselves against intruders.
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Yesterday, Judith Walker, chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the East Midlands, said it had been decided no further action would be taken against the couple. "Looking at the evidence, it is clear to me Mr and Mrs Ferrie did what they believed was necessary to protect themselves and their home from intruders," she said.
"As crown prosecutors, we look at all cases on their merit and according to the evidence in the individual case.
"I am satisfied this is a case where householders, faced with intruders in frightening circumstances, acted in reasonable self-defence.
"The law is clear that anyone who acts in good faith, using reasonable force, doing what they honestly feel is necessary to protect their families or their property, will not be prosecuted for such action.
"We have therefore advised Leicestershire Police that Mr and Mrs Ferrie should be released from their bail as they will not face any charges."
The decision followed forensic investigation of the scene, input from ballistics experts and extensive interviews with all parties involved, the statement added.
The Mercury broke the news to Mr Ferrie's family after police released the statement.
Maris Spilner, Mr Ferrie's stepfather, said: "It's great. It's brilliant. It's amazing.
"It has been an awful few days. It's brilliant to hear it's over.
"We only spoke to Andrew for the first time since the incident yesterday."
Told the CPS said his stepson had acted "in good faith, using reasonable force", Mr Spilner, of Uppingham, said: "We thought that all along."
The CPS announcement came after a court heard one of the burglars who was shot while breaking into the cottage had gone there expecting to find £170,000 in cannabis and cash.
Daniel Mansell, of Harrowden Rise, Crown Hills, Leicester, pleaded guilty to entering the property with intent to steal.
He appeared at Loughborough Magistrates' Court alongside another man, Joshua O'Gorman, with whom he is jointly charged. O'Gorman did not enter a plea.
The 22-seat public gallery in court three was packed with journalists and friends and family of the accused men.
Sally Cook, prosecuting, told the court the Ferries had gone to bed at 10.15pm on Saturday after locking up their home.
"The Ferries were woken by noise from outside, banging on their door and the sound of breaking glass," she said.
"They were confronted by a number of men. It is no secret a shotgun was discharged."
Mansell (33), who had a sling on his right arm, told police he was shot in his right hand as he went upstairs to look for the cash he was expecting to find.
Ms Cook said Mansell had admitted to police that he was expecting to find £100,000 of cannabis and £70,000 in cash, and that he understood no one living at the property.
The court heard there was no evidence of any drugs being at the property.
Ms Cook said Mansell told police in a statement that after he had been shot he went to Leicester Royal Infirmary, at 2am, where he told staff he had had an accident, cutting his hand on glass.
He refused to tell police who he was with at the cottage, Ms Cook said.
Magistrates were told that Mansell had previous convictions for burglary, robbery and violence.
He was in breach of a licence having been released from prison after serving a sentence for causing grievous bodily harm imposed in February, 2009, Ms Cook said.
O'Gorman (27), of The Wayne Way, Crown Hills, Leicester, had a three-inch long wound on his right temple.
He is also charged with entering the cottage with intent to steal.
No application for bail was made for either of the men.
Earlier this week, Melton and Rutland MP Alan Duncan said he believed Mr Ferrie, 35, and his wife, 43, should not be prosecuted.
Yesterday, after the CPS announced its decision, he said: "I think the world would have thought the law was mad if they had been prosecuted.
"It must be a great relief to them that they are now free and exonerated.
"I hope they can go to bed tonight feeling relieved and safe.
"I think the CPS has been sensible and appreciated that the whole country was watching to see what they were going to do."
Mansell will be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on September 25.
O'Gorman will appear via video link at Loughborough Magistrates' Court next Friday.
Two other men arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary – aged 31 and 23 – have been bailed pending further inquiries.