Dad uses Find My iPhone to hunt and kill thug who stole son’s iPhone


Find my iPhone is a useful feature, but people should contact the police if they fear for their safety.
Find my iPhone is a useful feature, but people should contact the police if they fear for their safety.
Photo: Apple

A U.K. man has been charged with murder after using Find My iPhone to track down and kill the thug who stole his son’s iPhone at knifepoint earlier in the day.

Derek Grant reportedly used Apple’s tracking software to locate the nearby thief after his son was robbed on his way home from work at McDonalds. When Derek confronted the thief and demanded he return the iPhone, the thief blinded him with a knife to the eye, which Grant says caused him to lash out in self defense and kill him.

Grant retaliated for the cut to his left eye by using a knife he brought from his house for safety, to repeatedly stab Bradley. The thief was finally found around 1:15 am and taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital, where he subsequently died of cardiac arrest.

iPhone theft has been a huge issue for local law enforcement agencies and has been responsible for the rise in crime in cities like New York, San Francisco, and London. Apple added Activation Lock to iOS 7 in an effort to deter iPhone-theft, but the handset is still popular as ever among thieves.

Grant pleaded guilty to culpable homicide yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow after prosecutors reduced his murder charge. In a statement to the court, Grant said, “I wish to declare for the record that at the time of this ­incident, I was acting in self-defense.”

His three sons, ages 20, 17 and 16 were also charged with murder, but their not guilty pleas were accepted by the court. Grant awaits sentencing on September 1st and to add to the injury, had his drivers license taken away now that he’s blind in one eye.

Source: DailyRecord

  • Jim

    Wow, the UK has some messed up rulings. If this case is truly as is depicted here, this is obviously a case of self defense and the man should go free. F the thief who stole the phone and then cut the man’s eye, he deserved to die. He should have given the phone back when the gig was up and this would never have happened.

    • tavojimenez

      Well, in some legal systems, its not considered Self-Defense when the “victim” is the one that introduces the risk, for example, if provoke someone and then when that person reacts I defend myself, also Self Defense has to be in the moment. If the perpetrator leaves and then you follow him and stab him in the back is not self defense. It has to be an inmediate reaction to the risk of an agression. At least this is how it works under the Civil Law System.

      In these case it seams that they are not taking the Self Defense approach thinking that Mr Grant provoked the thief by confronting him.

      • Nick_Germ

        Thats kind of a weird argument, if the victim imposes the risk. With that reasoning, walking through a bad neighborhood your mugged and its your own fault. You knew the risk sorry. Or what you are also saying is even provoking someone with words, they can stab you and if you defend yourself sorry again. What is the line of provocation? Physical contact? yelling and arguments?

      • Bad analogy because that’s not even close to what happened. What happened was that someone stole an iPhone, his father used the tracking software provided and went after the thief.

        Violence then ensued.

        And you didn’t ask the most important question: Since he had the thief’s location, why didn’t he just call the police, as opposed to going out to get the phone.

        With a knife. Which his not to say that the guy should have attacked him, but he walked into a situation that he knew was potentially dangerous.

    • Sorry-assault someone then you deserve whatever happens to you.

      As a lawyer I understand the self-defense laws (at least here in the US), but I have no sympathy for someone who attacks someone else with a deadly weapon.

      Mind your own business, respect other people and their property, and we all live better lives.

      • jameskatt

        Exactly, the thief who stabbed the father in the eye deserved to die. And the father and his sons should go free. They have paid enough.

      • Darren Paxton

        Sorry folks but the story isn’t completely being told. The Dad went out and took a knife with him. Thats going out looking to cause harm and thats why its not self defence. The dad could’ve gone to the police and they could’ve found him.

      • Vorter Jackson

        That’s assuming he had the legal responsibility to report it to the police. I don’t believe that is the case. You can also not assume guilt or ill-intent for arming yourself in a dangerous situation.

        This story sounds like it went down bad, and then further entangled mostly innocent people for no other reason then there being a dead body on the ground. Bad people die all the time. So do good people. Here a bad person died trying to murder someone. Should this man have just let himself be murdered because opps maybe he went a little too far initially?

      • Darren Paxton

        Arming yourself at home is a very different thing from going outside armed. Whether you dress up the intent as self defence, the law in Scotland takes a very dim view of ANYONE carrying something to be used as a weapon.

      • moofer

        He took a knife to a knife fight. So? Are you forgetting the guy already robbed his son at knifepoint? Would you not do something to help your safety knowing this guy had a knife? You can say, “well, he shouldn’t have gone in the first place.” But you would be a p*ssy. This guys son was robbed at knifepoint. That theif is now lying in the bed he made for himself. The dad is a hero.

      • Sinnister

        I agree with your last paragraph, but you and I know it’s a fairy tale.

    • Besides the obvious implications of tracking down the thief himself instead of contacting the police, and bringing a knife along (it’d be different if he’d just wrestled the knife away from the thief, and used that to defend himself), the major question is how many times did he stab the thief? I’m guessing if it was enough times to send him into cardiac arrest, it was far too many for self defense.

    • Chase Anderson

      As a father, I am perfectly fine murdering a thug who held a knife to a child’s face… but let’s honest, we all know hunting someone down and stabbing them to near death is NOT self defense. Doesn’t matter if it’s the UK or US, it obviously is not self defense no matter what part of the world you’re in.

      • Rob in Katy

        didn’t the other guy, the thief, stab the father first?

      • Charles

        you mean after he was hunted down? did the dad threaten the guy with his own knife or with a beating? sounds like that was possible if he was intent on going armed to a confrontation rather than calling the police.

  • Andy Brooks

    I bet I know what his Verse will be

  • JDSoCal

    Wow, UK sucks. A thug stabs you in the eye and you are supposed to run away?


  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    It’s no wonder the criminals are winning. If you’re not even allowed to protect yourself from an attack then it’s all over for the law-abiding citizen.

  • Gregg_Thurman

    Sentence? If this had happened in Florida, or anywhere else where the criminal is vilified, they erect a statue to him.

  • theappleogist

    It’s obviously self-defense but your article’s title made the guy appear like a crazed vigilante. You have no shame!

    • Darren Paxton

      Even when he goes out with a knife to find him? He hunted him pure and simple.

      • PHOFAN

        it states he brought a knife for protection and it also states he was attacked first before he decided to finally use that knife. If you are going to hunt someone i don’t think you’d let them attack you first.

      • Darren Paxton

        Nevertheless, he went looking for them when he could’ve gotten the Police involved and THEY could’ve gotten him. I know the town, my father in law was a policeman in that town and they do respond well to things like this. You do NOT go out with a knife especially when local MPs are campaigning for ANYONE caught with a knife to be banged up. Defending oneself on ones property is very different from going out with a weapon.

      • Rob in Katy

        NO, the police won’t lift a finger to go find a phone. They have other things to do…criminal outreach, for example.

      • Qwahchees

        Or giving tickets and spitting on their assets catching speeders. Cops don’t do anything helpful to society.

      • Paul M

        Having thousands of pounds of stuff stolen from our house, I can say that mostly the only point of calling the police is to get a crime incident number which is needed for the insurance claim. They will take details of items stolen, just in case they catch a thief with them, but it’s not going to become a big case for them

    • BusterH

      he meant to go find this guy, and he knew it could be a violent situation so he took a knife rather than alerting cops. Perhaps he didn’t go hunting him with the intent to kill, but after getting stabbed in the eye first (yikes!), he killed the guy in self defense.

      • JDSoCal

        Uh, wouldn’t the cops have been armed too? Are cops the only ones allowed to defend themselves?

        And you assume the cops would have even gone looking for the guy.

      • Darren Paxton

        No, the cops wouldn’t be armed with anything other than a baton (nightstick). Armed police are only deployed in exceptional circumstances in Scotland. We dont issue even tasers routinely and it gets us by just fine. The chances are that the victim (the thief, he is the victim) would be well known to the police as its a small town and he would’ve handed it over.

  • Once the guy located the culprit, he should have called the police and let them handle the thief. What if the thug had been carrying a gun? In any case — dude, you’re the father of three kids. You’re going to get into it with an armed criminal over an iPhone? Now you’re likely going to jail, and you’ve deprived your kids of something more important than any phone. Well done.

    • Darren Paxton

      At last a voice of reason who understands what should’ve been done!

    • PHOFAN

      I agree that the man was an idiot for risking his life and I guess some how getting his kids charged too. Although, we all know that the police will not do anything even with the given information. We also are probably lucky that this guy killed him because the thief would have gone out and done this again. The thief might have killed the next person he stole from. My friend was robbed in france and stabbed 5 times even though he never resisted the thief. He was left to die and was lucky that someone heard his moans to bring him to the hospital.

    • MailOrderLesbian

      That’s a good one. Try reporting a stolen phone to the police and see how long it takes for them to track the thief down.

      • Darren Paxton

        See my comment further above. Greenock is a relatively small town and the recovery of the phone would be easy and they would know the thief. Your assumptions are based on your own limited views and/or experiences.

      • You’re missing an important detail — the father had already tracked the phone to the person who stole it. If he had called the police at that point, they would have showed up to arrest the thief.

    • Jeremy Sprague

      I sympathize with the dad losing control since his kids were with him when the man slashed his eye, BUT… why did he bring his kids with him to confront a criminal. That’s the craziest part.

  • dafuq

    Why were his son’s charged with Murder??? UK is weird as hell…

    • I was wondering that too. Perhaps they were with him at the time?

      • Darren Paxton

        They were with him.

    • Charles

      likely the police initially suspected (being relatively older teenagers) encouragement from them for the attack. if you direct someone to murder someone, you are also guilty.

  • Mexicant

    He got off easy – I’d have cut off his hands and mailed them

    • jameskatt

      Yeah, after you killed him. But then, to what address?

  • jameskatt

    The thief deserved to die. The UK’s prosecutor is way wrong to charge the man and his sons. Way wrong.

    • Being a thief is hardly worthy of being killed

      • MailOrderLesbian

        Attacking someone with a knife and blinding them in the process is worthy of being killed.

      • Darren Paxton

        We dont know how he was provoked. Yes he took the phone and broke the law but vigilante tactics never work out well, case in point. We will never know what happened either and judging by your comment, you need to evaluate the value of a life properly.

      • David

        We know the thief stole the phone at knife point. I’m betting he didn’t hesitate to pull the knife out when the father confronted him. At that point, all bets are off. Once the theif drew the knife, the father was acting in self defense.

  • Kevin

    Scotland has a different legal system to England & Wales – there is no UK legal system. He was charged with murder because the threshold of self defence is a thin one. You are expected to use reasonable force, however, repeatedly stabbing someone “may” breach that threshold.

    It is worth noting that the Dad pleaded guilty to culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is committed where the accused has caused loss of life through wrongful conduct, but where there was no intention to kill or “wicked recklessness”. It is an offence under common law and is roughly equivalent to the offence of manslaughter in English law.

    Given he pleaded guilty to that and did not elect to go to trial using his self defence argument, there is a reasonable assumption that there were other factors at play here, including the fact that he went out looking for the thief armed with a knife.

    The sentencing will probably reflect the facts – he may not even serve any jail time.

    • Darren Paxton

      Well said Kevin. I agree, going out armed didn’t do him any favours whatsoever.

  • Nick

    At least we have the plot for Taken 3.

  • chrisporter

    Really! This man defended his life and he’s charged for murder. Am I reading correctly? Where is the outrage from the citizens of this man’s town? I applaud the man for his courageous action.

    • Dunbar

      The man went out armed with a knife. Vigilantism is not justice; it sets a dangerous precedent if individuals are granted the “right” to be judge, jury and executioner. I shouldn’t need to explain this to you, the fact I do is worrying.

      • Rob in Katy

        And allowing criminals to run free isn’t? Anyone here ever been in a fight because some jerk took something of yours in school? The current “civilized” legals systems teach criminals that they can get away with crimes for years before ever paying a price. That is the problem.

      • Dunbar

        Where are criminals allowed to “run free”? Where are criminals “taught” they can “get away with it”? Arming yourself with a deadly weapon and seeking a potentially deadly confrontation over personal property worth a few hundred pounds is not “justice”, it’s not “teaching a jerk a lesson”, it’s dangerous stupidity.

      • chrisporter

        The dead thief friends know that they won’t get away with robbing someone of their properties,because they will get resistance from the victim’s parents!

      • Dunbar

        The majority of thefts are carried out by drug users. They tend not to be reasonable people; violence, or the threat of violence, is not a deterrent for them. It is regarded as an occupational hazard. The best method of dealing with the problem is to address the causes of drug addiction, not give angry fathers the “right” to be a judge, jury and executioner of mobile phone thieves.

        You silly goose.

      • chrisporter

        Liberalism is a mental disease, it is like a cancer with no cure. Criminals must pay for their crimes. This father should be given the British Empire’s highest medal! Seriously!

      • Dunbar

        Not sure what you mean by “liberal”; in the UK it means a free marketeer, or, a supporter of a centre right political Party. Our legal system was built over many centuries and balances punitive sanctions with rehabilitation. Currently, punishment has the upper hand.

        Why you think the father in this case deserves a medal is a mystery to me. He went out armed with a lethal weapon intent of provoking a potentially deadly confrontation; he has admitted guilt of the Scottish equivalent of manslaughter. He understands he has committed a serious crime.

        If you regard the father as an innocent man, I seriously suggest you go see a psychiatrist. You need help.

      • chrisporter

        I dis agreee with you on that. The thief should have handed the father his son’s property. It is simple as that! No sympathy for the crook, he deserved what was coming to him!

      • Dunbar

        Who here is stating they have “sympathy for the crook”? I, along with others, are simply stating: the father committed a serious crime for which he is rightly being punished.

      • chrisporter

        You’re a weakling. The father should get the queen highest medal.

      • Dunbar

        Didn’t take long for the ad hominem. If you think a human life is worth less than an iphone, you have problems.

      • chrisporter

        He knew that the robber was armed, so he armed himself with a knife. What is wrong with that?

      • Dunbar

        If he knew the robber was armed he should have phoned the police. End of story.

      • chrisporter

        Well I hope the courts don’t send him to prison, he lost one of his eyes. How much more this man should suffer?

  • loder74

    Derek Grant is a hero and it is sickening that he faces a sentencing.

    • Charles

      a hero is someone who carries out an act to save a life, not an iphone.

  • chrisporter

    Wow! England is a liberal country. Everything immoral they’re for it. Now, they charged the man for murder who lost one of his eyes, to a robber. This is madness!

    • Dunbar

      The unfortunate events did not occur in England.

      • chrisporter

        OK! Glasgow, Scoyland, it is still a liberal society!

    • Darren Paxton

      Actually we’re not that liberal, Scotland and England (two different legal systems and countries in case you didnt know) are actually pretty strict on a lot of things. Funnily enough taking of a life and the circumstances of that event being one of them.

      • chrisporter

        In Britain they would send this man to prison for defending his life and reward known criminals with light sentences. Please!

  • Henriette Phoolish

    What a stupid outcome. Give the dad a medal !

    • Darren Paxton

      yay give him a medal….the possibility of removing his freedom for a number of years and being able to interact with his family in a prison visitors room all because of a phone and a stupid decision to take a lethal weapon onto the streets.

  • Kenzo Klyin


  • Shoulda walked by and dropped a pipe or bat or something, then come back and confronted him. When shit went down, run over pick it up and wail away. Avoid the intent charge by planning ahead.

    • Charles

      except the intent would have been proven from using the online service to track him down in the first place.

  • Mexicant

    The guy lost an eye AND his drivers license – where’s the sympathy?

  • cliffa

    If it happened the way it says above it most definitely IS self-defense. He takes out your eye and wants more he’s not making a salad, he’s try to kill-gotta be stopped.

  • hrrathul dwarf

    Ban knives!!!!

  • Qwahchees

    This is so stupid, we all know in English speaking countries, the cops don’t do anything. He did nothing wrong, he did served justice.

  • Thieves deserve to be hunted down, and if they “defend” themselves, they deserve to die.

  • equalopportunity4all

    This is a ridiculous abuse of victims rights. The son was mugged, the father lost his eyesight, this was a clear case of self defense.The thug is dead = savings for the taxpayers! British court is wrong.

  • Paul M

    Murdered someone? Surely there’s an app for that?