Judge praises teenage girl, 17, for hitting burglar when he broke into her home
A 17-year-old girl who fought a burglar after she found him stealing from her home has been praised by a judge for her bravery.
Nawal Khasal caught alcoholic Derek Perry walking down the stairs of her family home with carrier bags full of items belonging to her and her brothers.
The 47-year-old dropped the bags and lunged at the young woman, punching her and knocking her to the ground.
Nawal picked up a cricket bat near the front door and took a swing at the burglar.
She hit him over the head and knocked him to the floor and when he ran out of the house she chased him, attempting to detain him as he threw another punch before police arrived.
Perry, of Newsham Park in Liverpool, later claimed that it was not fair-play and Nawal should be arrested for assault.
But the judge who jailed Perry for five years commended the teenager's actions.
Judge Mark Brown said: "A householder is justifiably entitled to use reasonable and proportionate force to defend themselves and their property.
"It's clear that this is all Miss Khasal was trying to do."
Nawal, a trainee firefighter, said her actions had been a 'gut reaction' and said she was glad that Perry, who pleaded guilty, had got a lengthy sentence.
She said: "Me and my mum had just come back from shopping and there was a hole in the door frame - one of the panels had been sawn or cut out.
"I jumped out of the car and came into the house. I heard him on the stairs when I went in. He was coming down the stairs with bags - he had the XBox, DVD player and some other stuff.
"He was coming down the stairs and then he punched me in the shoulder so I hit him with the cricket bat. It was just a straight up reaction. I knew he was going to hit me."
Mum Linda said she was proud of Nawal's quick response: "I think she's a hero. Even if they don't take anything, knowing someone has been in leaves you with a horrible feeling for days afterwards.
"And it was just terrifying. We didn't know how many people were in the house. We didn't know what was going to happen. And this man was a big man, he was about 6ft tall. I'm glad he was caught."
During the hearing at Liverpool Crown Court Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, told the court that Nawal had shouted at Perry to 'leave the house' before he 'lunged' at her.
He also said that Perry's criminal behaviour went back to 1978 and he had 17 previous convictions for burglary and attempted burglary as well as theft and robbery.
Judge Brown said: "She acted with tremendous courage and determination. She was faced with a man of 47 years of age who presents as a physically strong individual.
"She is only 17 years of age. She is a great credit to people of her age. She not only stood up to him and gave as good as she received but she then pursued him and tried to detain him.
"When the police arrived she was able to make sure they were able to arrest him. It's only through her actions that this crime was detected.
'I'm sure the general public would applaud her actions on this occasion. She is entitled to the thanks and congratulations of the court and the general public.'