A BURGLAR picked on the wrong victim when he broke into the home of a burly rugby prop forward.

Bradford Bulls star Jon Magrin used his professional skills to rugby tackle the habitual criminal he caught fleeing his home.

‘Three strikes’ burglar John Calvert was left with a black eye when he was confronted by Mr Magrin as he and an accomplice tried to escape with the player’s cash and PlayStation console.

Jailing Calvert, 23, for three years at Bradford Crown Court yesterday, Judge Jonathan Rose said it was the defendant’s misfortune that his victim was a professional rugby league player, and not a woman who he had used violence against in a previous offence.

Prosecutor Dave MacKay told the court that Calvert and two accomplices broke into an apartment in Bradford city centre, which belonged to the 22-year-old player.

One kept watch outside while the other two, including Calvert, searched the flat. Calvert took £500 cash while the other man picked up the PlayStation.

Mr MacKay said Mr Magrin arrived home and saw Calvert coming out of his door.

He punched the defendant in the face, knocking him to the ground, and there was a violent struggle.

The prosecutor said: “The defendant tried to run away. Using his day-to-day playing skills, Mr Magrin rugby tackled him to the floor.”

Mr MacKay said the complainant again punched the defendant in the face, but Calvert produced a screwdriver and struck Mr Magrin in the head with it, causing a cut to his ear and forcing him to let go of the burglar.

But he was able to pull Calvert’s coat from him and the defendant’s phone fell to the ground.

Calvert, of Orchard Close, Bradford, was arrested four days later and had a black eye. He was linked to the offence by DNA.

The court heard Mr Magrin suffered a small cut to his ear, and grazes. His PlayStation was damaged and it cost £200 to repair his damaged door.

In mitigation, Calvert’s barrister, Ken Green, told the court his client had described his head as being all over the place at the time after discovering the body of his mother, who had committed suicide.

Judge Rose told Calvert he had sympathy for his position, but it did not entitle him to bring misery to other people. He had made a living out of crime and had been happy to use violence.

Judge Rose said that Mr Magrin was courageous enough to stand up to him.

But he added: “When that happened, you used a screwdriver as a weapon to strike against him to make your escape.

“It’s extremely fortunate that serious injury was not caused to him, because a screwdriver can be a potent weapon and you were prepared to use it.”


Speaking at the Bulls’ training ground after the case, Mr Magrin said he was pleased with the punishment meted out to Calvert.

Recalling the incident last November, Mr Magrin, who stands 6ft 1ins tall and weighs 16-and-a-half stones, said: “I got out of training, and as I was driving past my apartment to park up I saw my lights were on. I’d left them off, so obviously alarm bells were ringing.

“I got out the car and saw one guy outside keeping watch. I ran straight in and saw the door had been kicked in.

“One guy was inside the flat trying to steal my PlayStation. He saw me and bottled it, throwing the PlayStation at my head. That disoriented me, and then the other one has tried to get away so I grabbed him.

“At first I was just trying to restrain him, I wasn’t trying to beat him up or anything. I was probably being too nice.

“I was waiting for the police to arrive as a few people in the street had called the police. But initially they had called the police on me, because they thought I was assaulting him for no reason.

“As I was trying to restrain him he tried to fight back and and I got angry and started beating him up.

“The passers by were having a go at me and I was explaining what I was doing, he pulled out some sort of weapon like a screwdriver and went for me.

“I let him go because my safety was more important that keeping him there but in the struggle I got his phone and jacket.”