Father and son chop off teen burglar’s finger after he broke into their home – and the verdict will divide opinion

A FATHER and son who hacked off a teenage burglar's finger after finding him inside their home have been cleared of all charges.

William and Shaun Burr argued they acted in self defence after beating up the knife-wielding 17-year-old at their home in King Country, New Zealand.


Jurors at the High Court in Hamilton were told how William awoke during the early hours on October 1, 2020, to the sound of two intruders in his home.

Having already stolen three cars from William, the teen broke bail to return with his girlfriend to attempt to pinch another vehicle.

After William was struck over the head with a wine bottle, the court heard he grabbed his gun and marched the pair to the kitchen.

His son Shaun then arrived at the scene, and Philip Morgan QC told jurors the pair decided to take action at the teen was carrying a knife.

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They repeatedly beat him as he lay on the floor before chopping one of his fingers off.

He told the court William had "good reason" to believe the teen was dangerous, and that his actions were "reasonable given the circumstances", reports stuff.co.nz.

The teen admitted he had a knife and planned to use it, Morgan said.

But Crown prosecutor Rebecca Mann argued the men did not need to resort to violence.

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Mann said it took just one punch from Shaun to floor the teen – but the pair continued to beat him up and sliced off his finger.

She said that despite the boy dropping the knife and putting his hands on his head, the Burrs carried on hitting him.

The pair were charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and wounding with intent to injure, maiming with intent to injure, and maiming with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

William was also charged with assaulting a female and assaulting with intent to injure.

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But after six hours of jury deliberations, gasps could be heard from the public gallery as they were both cleared of all charges.

They left the courtroom and shared hugs and tears with family and friends.

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