Last year, an OAP made headlines after he reportedly killed a burglar while protecting his home and his wife.
Henry Vincent, 37, was killed after he broke into the home of Richard Osborn-Brooks in south-east London in April 2018. The OAP, now 79, discovered two intruders in his home in the early hours of Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A struggle ensued, and Vincent was fatally stabbed.
Osborn-Brooks said he didn’t mean to stab Vincent, who was holding a screwdriver at the time. At a recent inquest, he told the court he was trying to protect his wife, and took hold of the closest knife to him at the time.
Now, more than a year after the incident, a coroner has ruled the burglar was lawfully killed.
The pensioner was giving evidence at an inquest today, May 2, where he told the coroner how he felt ‘terrified’ and ‘helpless’ as he faced the two burglars, who were wearing balaclavas at the time.
Osborn-Brooks told the inquest, as per Metro:
I only wanted to threaten him, I don’t recall pushing the knife forward.
After the incident, Vincent fled the scene but collapsed in the street. He was later pronounced dead at the University Hospital, Lewisham.
At the time, Osborn-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murder, but was later released without charge.
While giving evidence, the 78-year-old detailed how the intruders had knocked on his door, grabbed him and pushed him back inside the house. One of the men shoved the pensioner towards the kitchen, while the other burglar ran upstairs. Both burglars were demanding money from Osborn-Brooks.
The 78-year-old said, when he was in the kitchen, he grabbed the largest knife from a six-knife holder. The second burglar then fled through the front door, while Vincent came into the kitchen brandishing a screwdriver, saying ‘Get out of my way or I’ll stick you with this’.
At the inquest, coroner Andrew Harris read Osborn-Brooks’ police statement, saying:
You said “I think you’re wrong because mine’s bigger than yours and if you don’t leave my house you will be sorry”.
However, Osborn-Brooks reiterated that he was trying to scare the burglar so he would run away, and that if the burglar did lunge at him, he would hit the knife first rather than himself.
As Osborn-Brooks said:
My intention was to get him out of the house and away from my wife. I still think that Mr Vincent rushes forward intending to do me harm and he ran into the knife that I was holding between us.
He definitely didn’t try to get out of the front door, he came towards me.
The inquest also heard from the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Vincent, who said the toxicology report indicated the burglar had ‘a recent use of both cocaine and heroin’.
The cause of death was cited as an incised wound to the chest.
In the days following the incident, friends and family tried to leave a shrine to Vincent in the area outside Osborn-Brooks’ home, however this was repeatedly torn down by locals.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.