Bailiffs looking for wanted man burst into terrified elderly couple’s home
Brian Middleton grabbed a baseball bat in a bid to defend himself when the two men entered the home he shares with wife Irene, who has Alzheimer’s disease
A terrified pensioner swung a baseball bat at two bailiffs who he claims burst into his home threatening him with arrest.
Dad-of-two Brian Middleton, 72, said the “aggressive” pair marched into the home he and wife Irene share in an apparent case of mistaken identity.
Brian, who along with his wife of 51 years is registered disabled, said: “I was so panicked I thought I was going to die.”
The couple moved into their home in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, 14 months ago but have yet to finish unpacking and Brian said he grabbed a baseball bat from a box and “took a swing” at the officers, who he claimed refused to identify themselves.
“I’m not proud of it. But that’s what it took to make them run out of the house,” he said.
Excel Civil Enforcement, the company which sent the officers to the address on the morning of February 14, said in a statement they were executing an arrest warrant to deliver a wanted man to court, adding: “Neither of the occupants was the individual named on the warrant.”
Retired Brian has ongoing heart problems and said he was usually bedbound while his 76-year-old wife has Alzheimer’s disease. “It just so happens that that’s the time our community nurse was due to visit so the door was unlocked,” he said.
“I heard Irene shout: ‘Brian, there’s two men in the house’ and so struggled downstairs and saw two enforcement officers.”
He claimed the two men didn’t allow him to ask any questions but instead claimed they had a warrant for his arrest.
“Straightaway they were really aggressive,” said Brian. “They just kept saying ‘We’ve got a warrant for you’ but wouldn’t say why or who they were.
“They were dressed like swat police in what looked like bulletproof vests. We just couldn’t believe what was going on.”
Excel Civil Enforcement refused to answer questions about the identity of the person they were seeking to arrest or which court had issued the warrant.
Brian said he did not recognise the name of the person when it was given to him during the incident and said it was not a family member or the previous occupants of the property.
“From the start they were just really boisterous and aggressive,” he said.
“When they eventually said who they were looking for they had the wrong name. We were told I’d have to prove who I was but I thought: ‘Why should I? I’m in my own house?’ and especially given their attitude.
“I was sweating, my heart was racing. I just thought: ‘How can they do this in my own house?’ It was terrifying. I was so panicked I thought I was going to die.”
Brian added: “The whole house is in a bit of a mess to be honest and in my panic I saw a baseball bat in one of the boxes and took a swing.”
At that point the bailiffs left the couple’s home and called police.
“I’m the first to admit that I picked up a bat but I have to defend my wife – she has Alzheimer’s. We’re vulnerable” said Brian.
He added the couple had received no apology from Excel Civil Enforcement and have been left to “get on with it”.
“We’ve been married for 51 years – I just had to protect her,” Brian said.
“We’re amazed that this can happen in a country like this. We still don’t know what we were meant to have done.”
Mike Garland, director of Excel Civil Enforcement, said: “I can confirm that two of our officers attended an address in Govilon to execute a warrant for the arrest of an individual to deliver him to court.
“This address was the one provided on the warrant by the court. The occupants took immediate exception to the attendance and the police were called to prevent a breach of the peace.
“Neither of the occupants was the individual named on the warrant.”
A Gwent Police spokesman said: “Officers attended an address in Govilon on February 14, shortly before 10.20am, following reports of a disturbance.
“Both parties were spoken to by officers. No injuries reported and no offences committed.”