Pensioner arrested for murder of career burglar told he won’t face charges

The pensioner arrested for the murder of a burglar has been told be police he will not be charged with any offence.

Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, faces no further action over the stabbing of Henry Vincent, a career criminal, who had broken into his home in Hither Green in south east London on Wednesday at the scene.

Scotland Yard said in a statement that officers had spoken to Vincent’s family and explained the reasons for the decision. It had been taken after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Following consultations with the Crown Prosecution Service, the force said it had informed Vincent’s family of the development and explained to them the reasons why no charges will be brought.

Detective chief inspector Simon Harding said: “This is a tragic case for all of those involved.

“As expected with any incident where someone has lost their life, my officers carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death.

“We have approached the CPS for early investigative advice, as required under the guidance. We have received and considered that advice, and, at present – on the evidence available – we will not seek a charging decision.

“Therefore, no further action will be taken against the man.”

The arrest sparked outcry from neighbours and an online fundraising campaign raised hundreds of pounds for Mr Osborn-Brooks in just a few hours.

Addressing the controversy, Mr Harding said: “Whilst there might be various forms of debate about which processes should be used in cases such as this, it was important that the resident was interviewed by officers under the appropriate legislation of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act; not only for the integrity of our investigation but also so that his personal and legal rights were protected.

“There will be an inquest in due course which will further review the circumstances into Mr Vincent’s death in a public forum.”

Vincent’s family and friends have paid tribute to him on social media, with one post stating he will “never be forgotten”.

In January, Kent Police sought the 37-year-old over a distraction burglary in which jewellery and valuables were stolen from a man in his 70s.

During the break-in on Wednesday, two men entered Mr Osborn-Brooks’ home on South Park Crescent in Hither Green, south east London.

Police said one of the suspects was armed with a screwdriver and forced the homeowner into his kitchen, while the other man went upstairs.

It is believed a struggle took place between one of the men and the homeowner and the intruder was stabbed in the upper body, but it is not clear what object inflicted the fatal blow.

Police say both intruders attempted to escape, but Vincent collapsed in nearby Further Green Road.

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