An 88 year-old war veteran drew on his army training and saw off two armed robbers from his home with a single punch.
Fearless Kenneth Brown heard banging on his window as he watched the cricket on a Sunday afternoon and saw two teenagers.
He opened the door and the pair pushed their way in, demanded money and one pulled up his sleeve to reveal a knife with a six-inch blade.
But Kenneth – who is just 5ft 4″ tall and weighs nine stone – remembered his unarmed combat skills and thumped the armed thug in the chest.
The cowards turned tail and fled his house empty handed and were later arrested.
Kenneth, of Lympne, Kent, told police he could have done the pair “a lot more damage”.
He said: “I didn’t think about the danger.
” I told the police I could have done them a lot more damage, but I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of the law.”
He said: “I heard a banging on the double glazing of my door and there were two youngsters outside.
“They demanded money and one of them pulled back his sleeve and showed that he had a knife.
“I remembered my army training and let him have it.
“I punched him with my right hand on the chest. That pushed him backwards although he didn’t fall over.
“Then they both went off. I had no time to be scared and that’s how they train you in the army.”
Single Kenneth served with the Somerset Light Infantry in Asia in the final months of World War II.
He was conscripted in the spring of 1945, as the war in Europe was ending but the Allies were still fighting the Japanese in the Far East.
Tom Love and Jack Saunders, both 19, were sentenced to 11 and 19 months’ youth custody respectively last Friday.
Mr Brown added: “That may teach them a lesson. Young people like these try it on with old people.”
Sentencing the pair at Canterbury Crown Court, Judge Adele Williams praised Mr Brown.
She said: “Mr Brown behaved in a conspicuously brave and thoughtful way, reacting very quickly when confronted by these two men.”
The court heard Mr Brown had taken off the chain and unlocked his front door to see what the boys wanted.
Prosecutor Sherry Nabijou said: “Saunders initially said ‘I’m here to pick up my football from your front lounge’, but he tried to push his way inside after saying, ‘give me a money.
“Mr Brown was taken aback by this strange behaviour and saw the youngster had a knife with a five or six inch blade.”
After Mr Brown punched Saunders, who had the knife, they ran into a waiting car but not before neighbours took down their registration number.
Love and a female were stopped in the car the next day and tests on cigarette butts in the car found Saunders’ DNA.
Police also found text messages between the two boys in which they referred to the victim as “the old boy”.
Although the incident happened two years ago – on April 14, 2013 – Love, of Sittingbourne, Kent, did not plead guilty to attempted robbery until his trial began.
Traffic management engineer Saunders, of Wormshill, nr Sittingbourne, Kent, pleaded guilty at a earlier hearing.
Stephen Page, mitigating for Saunders, said he felt “the deepest remorse for what was a very harrowing and disturbing incident involving a very vulnerable person”.
Simon Sandford, for Love, handed in a number of character references on behalf of the teenager.
But Judge Williams retorted: “What is particularly troubling is the conduct of this defendant on this occasion belies all the very good character references.
“There seem to be two sides to this young man.”
She criticised the youngster for not pleading guilty until recently, adding: “His failure to acknowledge his responsibility until his first day of the trial has resulted in all this time elapsing.
“One could be forgiven for thinking that he did everything possible to avoid his responsibility.”
Mr Brown is an engineer by trade and was a civilian employee for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for nearly 20 years.
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