Hither Green burglar ‘ran into knife’ during break-in

Richard Osborn-Brooks
Image caption Richard Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without charge

A 79-year-old man who killed a burglar had picked up a kitchen knife to try to get the two intruders out of his home, an inquest has heard.

Richard Osborn-Brooks stabbed Henry Vincent to death in Hither Green, south-east London, in April last year.

He told Southwark Coroner’s Court the 37-year-old had threatened him with a screwdriver, then “rushed forward” and “ran into the knife I was holding”.

Mr Vincent’s sister told the hearing her brother was “not a violent person”.

“He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother. No one deserves to die,” Rosie Vincent said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Henry Vincent and another man broke into the 79-year-old’s home in Hither Green

Speaking by videolink, Mr Osborn-Brooks told the inquest he still believed that the intruder was “intending to do me harm” during the break-in on 4 April 2018.

The 79-year-old said the two men had knocked on his door, grabbed him and pushed him inside.

Both then demanded money as one then shoved him toward the kitchen and the other ran upstairs.

He told the hearing that when he grabbed the knife, Mr Vincent’s accomplice fled out of the front door but the 37-year-old came down the stairs holding the screwdriver and saying “get out of my way or I’ll stick you with this”.

Mr Osborn-Brooks said he had then warned the intruder that his weapon was “bigger than yours” as “I thought he would look at my knife… and he would take the opportunity to run out the front door which was open”.

“He definitely didn’t try to get out of the front door, he came towards me,” he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Osborn-Brooks said Mr Vincent threatened him with a screwdriver during the raid

Mr Vincent’s cause of death was given as an incised wound to the chest.

In a statement, the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on the 37-year-old said a toxicology report indicated “a recent use of both cocaine and heroin”.

He said that Mr Vincent “may have been experiencing the effects” at the time of the raid.


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