Professor Brian Cox's wife sends burglar packing with right hook


Gia Milinovich

Gia Milinovich, the TV presenter, writer and blogger who is the wife of TV scientist Professor Brian Cox, has revealed on her blog that she saw off a burglar who had broken into their home - by punching him in the face.

So how did she do it, and is this a wise approach?

Milinovich wrote that on the night of 22nd May, while Brian was away and her five-year-old son was in bed with her, she woke at 5am when she heard the cat in her son's bedroom. A few seconds later she heard footsteps in her son's room, and thinking it was her teenage son sneaking home she went to confront him. She saw a stranger in the room.

She wrote: "I had no plan. I did, however, have three years of boxing training." She ran into the room shouting and punched him in the face. He pushed past her, ran down the stairs (with her chasing him) and out of the front door. She then called the police, who used CCTV footage to pick him up and found fingerprints in the house. She said that she discovered on Friday he had been sentenced to 8 months in prison.

Is this a good idea?

As we reported last month, Milinovich is not alone in being prepared to attack an intruder, some 93% of people say they would use force in order to defend their home. The survey by insurer RIAS found 71% of people would be prepared to use force to protect family members, while 60% would consider force justified if they felt threatened. When asked about the kinds of force that were acceptable almost one in ten would punch or kick them - although more than a third would focus on trying to restrain them until the police arrived.

Legally you are on solid ground as long as the level of force you use is reasonable. However, the Crown Prosecution Service makes it clear that those who go over the top, or attack seeking revenge, will be seen as having used disproportionate violence, and could face legal action.

In practical terms, even though the law is on your side, using violence to protect your home can be highly dangerous. There is no knowing what the intruder will do, whether they are armed, whether they have training for combat, or whether they are affected by external factors such as drugs. The experts say that your best approach is to do anything you can to prevent a burglar getting into your home, call the police if you are at home when someone comes into the property, and if your family is safe, do not try to confront them.

Milinovich, meanwhile, said she wouldn't recommend the approach to anyone unless they have been trained up, but that she would always recommend self-defence training to overcome any situations in which you might feel vulnerable. She also posted a picture of her bruised knuckles.