England: Burglar stabbed to death by pensioner was lawfully killed

England: Burglar stabbed to death by pensioner was lawfully killed

A burglar who was stabbed to death by a pensioner was lawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Henry Vincent was stabbed to death as he burgled the home of Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, in southeast London last April.

Sky News reports that in an audio recording played at an inquest on Thursday Mr Osborn-Brooks can be heard saying to officers: “I grabbed that knife out of the knife block and I threatened him with it… he yelled up to his mate ‘he’s got a knife’.

“His mate had a sharp thing in his hand, afterwards I realised it was a screwdriver… I said ‘mine’s bigger than yours’. He said: ‘Come near me and I’ll stab you.’ He came toward me with the screwdriver… I just put the knife forward.”

He said the knife “went in about four inches”.

Mr Vincent’s sister, Rose, told the hearing: “My brother was not a violent person. He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother. No one deserves to die.”

Mr Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but was subsequently released.

The arrest caused a public outcry and an online fundraising campaign was launched in support of the pensioner, which raised thousands of pounds.

Friends and family of Mr Vincent laid flowers and cards opposite Mr Osborn-Brooks’ house, which was boarded up after the incident.

These were, however, repeatedly removed by neighbours.

A post-mortem found that Mr Vincent had recently used cocaine and heroin before the attack.

Coroner Andrew Harris concluded this killing was lawful.

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