The killing took place Wednesday night in Salford, Greater Manchester, the Daily Mirror reported.
Peter Flanagan, 57, and his son, Neil, 29, told police they discovered a group of four men wearing masks trying to break down the back door. They said the other men dragged the injured man away and left him leaning against a tree.
John Bennell, 27, of Hyde, Greater Manchester, died.
A nearby family said they had been the target of a similar break-in attempt a week ago.
"My granddaughter was woken up by four or five young men kicking the door and banging trying to get in," Valerie Thomas said. "She went into the street and started screaming and that scared them off."
Prime Minister David Cameron announced a package of anti-crime proposals this week. One would give more legal protection to home and business owners who use force to protect their property.