'My life was ruined when I chased criminals from my home and ended up in prison'

  • Adam White was jailed for running two criminals off the road after they tried to burgle his home and he chased them in his car

  • His wife Lindsay, who was six weeks pregnant when it happened, had an abortion while Adam is also being sued by the men

  • His story was featured in Channel 4 show 24 Hours in Police Custody, sparking an outpouring of sympathy from some viewers

  • Adam speaks to Yahoo News UK about the night it happened and how he has been left 'in tears' by the public response

An electrician who was jailed for chasing two burglars and running them off the road has said he is "overwhelmed" by the support from the public after his case featured in a TV documentary.

Adam White, 34, was sentenced to 22 months in prison in February for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after he drove his car in pursuit of two criminals on a stolen motorbike who targeted his home in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in September 2019.

The case was the subject of an episode of Channel 4 documentary series 24 Hours In Police Custody, broadcast on Monday.

Bedfordshire Police, which tweeted along with last night's show, said the case "divided opinion", but cautioned that victims should not take the law into their own hands.

(Channel 4)
The case of Adam White, pictured, featured in 24 Hours In Police Custody. (Channel 4)

The programme heard how the two burglars, Taylor Benford and Ryan Paul, both 25, avoided prison sentences and are now suing White after they crashed during his pursuit and sustained a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and broken bones.

White had been at home with his wife, Lindsay, 34, and their two children, aged 10 and 12, when the two masked men, who have a string of criminal convictions, tried to break into their garage with a crowbar and bolt cutters. They targeted White after posing as buyers of a motorbike he was selling online.

White pursued the men in his Mercedes 4x4, and police received a 999 call minutes later reporting that the burglars had been thrown from a motorbike.

Benford and Paul later pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to attempted burglary and were given suspended sentences and 200 hours community service.

White was sentenced at the same court to 22 months in prison. He was jailed in February but released in September, and is now wearing an ankle tag.

(Channel 4)
White's case featured in Monday's episode of 24 Hours In Police Custody. (Channel 4)

His wife, who was six weeks pregnant at the time of the attempted burglary, decided to have an abortion because he faced the prospect of going to prison.

Many people on social media expressed sympathy with White, while a stranger set up a GoFundMe page to help pay his legal fees, which total £51,000.

"I was scared at first about it going on air," he told Yahoo News UK on Tuesday.

"The reaction I've got from the public, I'm gobsmacked, I don't have words for it. I want to give everyone a hug. I've got so much love for everyone and the sympathy they've shown me is just heartwarming.

"Seeing some of these people set up a GoFundMe page had me in tears last night. I couldn't believe it. I'm just overwhelmed with the kindness the public has shown me."

Update: Outraged 24 Hours in Police Custody viewers raise £100,000 for Adam White

White spoke about the couple's decision to terminate the pregnancy. Both he and his wife have a child from previous relationships.

"When the incident happened in September, we found out that Lindsay was six weeks pregnant," he said. "We'd been trying for years. Having one of our own would have made it complete.

"Out of all of it that was the hardest decision we've had to make, do we carry on with the pregnancy and then Lindsay have to suffer the stress and will she be able to afford living where we live and feed and clothe the baby?

"We both decided that would be the best option and it's a bit of a sore subject to talk about."

(Adam White)
Adam White, right, and his wife Lindsay. (Adam White)

Lindsay, a funeral director, told Yahoo News UK: "Now I know it was the right decision because there is no way I could have supported a child without an income while he was in prison.

"At the same time, there are so much regrets on that." She said the last three years had "been a nightmare".

Asked about the legal action being taken by the two burglars against him, White said: "I couldn't believe it. I don't see the justice in that.

"They're coming into someone's property to take stuff that's not theirs. I'm in the wrong for getting in my car and pursuing, but at the same time, driving at the speed they were driving at, I don't think I'm 100% responsible for causing that crash.

"I've got nothing else to lose. I don't know what else they can take from me. They've taken an unborn child, we could potentially have had a healthy kid, they've destroyed my career."

White said he regrets getting in his car and going after the two men.

(Channel 4)
Taylor Benford later pleaded guilty to attempted burglary. (Channel 4)

"I wouldn't want to hurt anyone," he said. "I know these guys are career criminals but at the end of the day they're still humans. It wasn't my intention to hit them.

"Of course I feel remorse. Someone's watching over me because these guys were very lucky that they didn't die."

White said that when paramedics arrived at the scene and started putting out a fire on his car, he took the fire extinguisher from them and told them to go and help the two men who had come off the motorbike.

He said: "It's ruined my life. I don't really know where I go with my life and my career and trying to provide.

"We've had to relocate. We didn't feel safe there anymore. Our home was not our home anymore. Our space had been violated."

(Channel 4)
White in police bodycam footage after he ran two burglars off the road in September 2019. (Channel 4)

In a statement, Bedfordshire Police said: "Policing and the wider criminal justice system divides opinion and undoubtedly tonight’s episode of 24 Hours In Police Custody will have done just that.

"Our officers work incredibly hard to put criminals before the courts and disrupt their activities, but we know that the outcomes received do not always tell the full story. In this case, there were no winners.

"This episode is an important reminder that people must not take the law into their own hands. Such actions can have enormous consequences."

Inspector Grant Maxted told the programme: "I fully understand people's frustrations in this case. You're talking about a person whose property's been interfered with. Someone's trying to break into his garage. And there's a real need to feel that those people responsible are brought to justice.

"However, it's the police's job to do that and not individuals."