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02nd May 2019

Burglar stabbed to death by pensioner was lawfully killed, coroner rules

Simon Lloyd

Henry Vincent died in April 2018 after being stabbed in the chest

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

Richard Osborn-Brooks, who was 78 at the time, stabbed 37-year-old Henry Vincent to death in Hither Green, south-east London, during April of last year.

Though the pensioner was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, he was later released.

Coroner Andrew Harris has now ruled Vincent was lawfully killed.

Appearing via audio link, Osborn-Brooks told Southwark Coroner’s Court how he had been terrified when two men wearing balaclavas had pushed him into his home and threatened him with a screwdriver after he had answered the door during the early hours of the morning.

He explained that he grabbed a kitchen knife to protect his wife, and that he had not intended to kill the intruder.

He added that one of the men had fled the scene when he picked up the knife, but that Vincent, still holding the screwdriver, told him: “get out of my way or I’ll stick you with this”.

Despite warning Vincent that his weapon was “bigger”, Osborn-Brooks said the burglar continued to move towards him.

Vincent fled the scene after being stabbed. He later died in hospital after collapsing in the street.

The pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Vincent said in a statement that a toxicology report indicated ‘a recent use of both cocaine and heroin’ and that he may have been experiencing the effects’ at the time of the burglary.