A retired GP has revealed he felt “ashamed” and “guilty” after being unable to protect his wife when a burglar broke into their home and kidnapped them.
Arthur Manuel confronted serial offender James Evans, 50, in court as he was handed a life sentence, of which he will be in custody for a minimum of nine years before he is considered for parole.
Dr Manuel and his wife Frances Manuel were at their home in Baxenden, Lancashire, when Evans forced his way into the house, stealing jewellery, more than £250 and pulling rings off Mrs Manuel’s fingers.
He then drove the couple, both in their 60s, to a cash point after taking the keys of their Mercedes SLK and ordered them to withdraw more money after threatening them with a knife.
However they raised the alarm at the Tesco store in Accrington before police chased Evans and arrested him.
Speaking to The Telegraph Dr Manuel said: “I felt so guilty that I couldn’t protect Frances, but he had a knife and I was only in my pyjamas and socks, I didn’t know what I could do.
“I thought about tackling him and I tried to reason with him, but he just kept wanting more – that was his downfall in the end.
“But now knowing he’s been sentenced to nine years, I’ve slept the best I have since it happened, the whole incident was terrifying.”
Standing up in court to gave his victim statement the 67-year-old told Evans that the attack had “changed the way we live our lives forever”.
He said: “I am angry he felt he could do this to us. For 34 years I’ve tried to look after her and on this occasion, when it mattered most, I failed.
“I feel so ashamed. I have feelings of guilt because I am the one that opened the door that led to the horrific events.”
Mrs Manuel added that she was happy with the sentence that had been given to Evans, but said: “It was dreadful and it has left me jumping every time the door rings. I never thought this would happen to us.
“We have added more security to the house but it will be a while until I get over this, I don’t know if I’ll ever forget. It was an act of pure evil.”
Evans pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of kidnap, taking a vehicle without authority, driving while disqualified and drink driving at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard Evans had been out of prison on licence since July after serving half of a 12-year jail sentence for a similar crime. Prior to the attack he had 36 convictions for 115 offences, including two robberies involving elderly people.
It is believed that following his release he absconded from his bail hostel and did not engage with the probation service.
Lancashire Constabulary was approached for comment.
Prosecutor Emma Kehoe said Evans knocked on the side door of the property at around 9pm on January 7 and pushed Dr Manuel in the chest when he answered the door.
Dr Manuel added: “When I heard the door I just thought it was a neighbour, one of them hadn’t been well so I thought they needed help, but he came through the door quicker than a flash.”
Defending, Mark Stuart said Evans was “back on drugs and very short of money. He was living on a hand to mouth existence.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt described the experience as “harrowing” for the couple and said she did not accept Evans had “any true remorse for what he did”.
She said: “I hope it brings you closure. Do not feel guilty, you did what you were supposed to do. You survived.”
Evans was also disqualified from driving for 12 years.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/17/retired-gp-confronts-burglar-court-tells-ashamed-failed-protect/