Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hitchin woman praised for hitting burglar with stick

A 76-year-old woman who hit a burglar with a stick after he struck her with a hammer has been praised for her "extreme courage" by a judge.

Rosie McGarva confonted Anthony Lynch, 35, when he broke into her home in Hitchin in the early hours of 13 January last year.

Lynch, who has since been jailed, also attacked her 81-year-old husband.

Judge Andrew Bright commended Mrs McGarva and gave her £750 at an award ceremony at St Albans Crown Court.

"The incident could have been very much worse had it not been for the bravery and extreme courage shown by this lady against a man who was much, much younger than her," he said.

"Who knows what might have happened? We can only commend the extreme bravery of Mrs McGarva."

Threatened to kill

The ceremony heard Mrs McGarava came face to face with the burglar after being woken by a noise and going to investigate.

Lynch hit her twice with a hammer, demanded to know where she kept her handbag and threatened to kill her and her husband, Hugh, the court heard.

He grabbed the watch from her wrist, but she struck him with a stick and atttacked him again when he went into the couple's bedroom.

Despite dripping blood for her injuries, she found a pole used to open the loft hatch and hit Lynch when he attacked Mr McGarva.

The elderly couple were left on the floor and, as a parting shot, Lynch kicked Mrs McGarva in the back.

She needed eight stitches to a head wound and suffered a black eye.

Her husband suffered a head wound and a bleed on the brain.

Lynch, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years for a string of burglary and theft offences at Cambridge Crown Court on 14 May.

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