If you choose to go out bur­gling you take your chances.. it seems he got his come­up­pance

» Frail wi­dow tells of raid by stabbed thug » OAP in clear over bur­glar’s stab death

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY BEN ROSSINGTON ben.rossington@mir­ror.co.uk

A VIC­TIM of the armed bur­glar stabbed to death while raid­ing the home of a pen­sioner has said the ca­reer crim­i­nal got his just deserts.

Henry Vin­cent, 37, was fa­tally stabbed in the home of Richard Os­born-Brooks, 78, who was last night told he faces no charges af­ter be­ing ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of his mur­der ear­lier this week.

Con­man Vin­cent had a his­tory of tar­get­ing the el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble, in­clud­ing frail wi­dow June Strat­ton, 87.

Pos­ing as po­lice of­fi­cers, he and a pal tricked their way into her bun­ga­low where they stole thou­sands of pounds, some of which was meant for char­ity.

June found the courage to face him from the wit­ness stand in court but the case against him col­lapsed and he walked free to con­tinue his life of crime.

The great-gran said: “If he’d gone away for what he did to me, he might have thought twice about do­ing it again. But this is how they choose to live their life. It’s aw­ful that some­one died, but it seems he got his come­up­pance.

“If you go into some­one else’s home, you take your chances. You don’t know who you’re go­ing to come up against.”

Richard Os­born-Brooks was last night told he was a free man and will face no fur­ther ac­tion over Vin­cent’s death.

A neigh­bour, who did not want to be named, said: “Great news, he shouldn’t have been ar­rested in the first place, he was just de­fend­ing his home.”

Well­wisher Deb­bie Ma­honey wrote on Mr Os­born-Brooks’ Face­book page: “I have the ut­most re­spect for you. You pro­tected your wife and home. You’ve done ev­ery­one a great favour... there’s one less piece of scum in this world.”

Scot­land Yard said: “Fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion be­tween the Met and Crown Pros- Ser­vice, no ac­tion will be taken. Of­fi­cers have also spo­ken with the fam­ily of Henry Vin­cent. They have been in­formed of the de­ci­sion and the rea­sons for it have been ex­plained to them.”

Det Chief Insp Si­mon Hard­ing, of Scot­land Yard’s Homi­cide and Ma­jor Crime Com­mand, added: “There will be an in­quest in due course which will fur­ther re­view the cir­cum­stances into Mr Vin­cent’s death.”

Vin­cent died on Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing stabbed af­ter a strug­gle with ex-RAC man­ager Mr Os­born-Brooks in Hither Green, South East Lon­don. The raider, part of a no­to­ri­ous crime fam­ily in Or­p­ing­ton, Kent, was wanted by po­lice over a dis­trac­tion bur­glary at the home of Cyril Good­earl in nearby Farn­ing­ham.

Re­tired aero­space en­gi­neer Mr Good­earl, 78, had heir­looms in­clud­ing jew­ellery stolen in the raid last year.

He said: “I found out it was the same bloke yes­ter­day. I thought it’s a jolly good job. Good rid­dance.”

On Mr Os­born-Brooks con­fronting the raider, Mr Good­earl added: “I’d like to shake his hand. If I was in the same posiecu­tion

tion I’d have done ex­actly the same.” Told Mr Os­born-Brooks faces no fur­ther ac­tion, he added: “I’m de­lighted. Com­mon sense has pre­vailed.”

Mr Os­born-Brooks and wife Mau­reen were wo­ken by two raiders bran­dish­ing a screw­driver in the early hours on Wed­nes­day.

Vin­cent marched the pen­sioner into the kitchen while his ac­com­plice ran­sacked the up­stairs rooms. Neigh­bours saw Vin­cent col­lapse out­side with a stab wound while the sec­ond man jumped into a white van and drove away. Mr Os­born-Brooks was ini­tially ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der be­fore be­ing bailed. Yes­ter­day a po­lice cor­don around the cou­ple’s home was re­moved and the house boarded up. Labour coun­cil­lor Mark In­gleby re­vealed Mr Os­born-Brooks had paid £900 of his own money to have nine gates fit­ted in the area as part of a Neigh­bour­hood Watch scheme fol­low­ing a re­cent spate of bur­glar­ies.

Vic­tim June Strat­ton said of Vin­cent and his ac­com­plices: “They picked on peo­ple they thought couldn’t fight back, the el­derly and the in­firm. My gen­er­a­tion are gen­er­ally a lot more trust­ing than the younger lot and they used that. I can’t trust any­one now.”

Telling of the raid at her home, she said: “They came with what looked like war­rant cards and a search war­rant. It all looked very plau­si­ble. I thought they were the real po­lice.

“They got more than £7,000 I had saved up. Some was for a new car­pet and some for the mo­tor neu­rone char­ity be­cause that’s what my hus­band Char­lie died of.”

She be­lieves Vin­cent knew cow­boy builders who had charged her £500 to fix “rot­ten wood” in her loft the year be­fore the raid. She said: “Vin­cent and his mate said I’d paid the builders in coun­ter­feit cash and so they had to check all the money I had.

“They knew about my safe. That can only have come from the builders. They must have been part of the same gang.”

Her son Stu­art, 62, said of Vin­cent. “He was such a wrong’un. It was his way of life. Peo­ple work hard for what they have and peo­ple like him think they can cheat you out of it.”

Tell us what you think at your­voice@ mir­ror.co.uk

He picked on peo­ple he thought couldn’t fight back, the el­derly and the in­firm JUNE STRAT­TON ON BUR­GLAR HENRY VIN­CENT WHO RAIDED HER HOME

THE law has a right to pro­tect peo­ple when they find them­selves con­fronted by armed in­trud­ers in their own homes.

There was near-univer­sal sup­port and sym­pa­thy for heroic Richard Os­born-Brooks, 78, af­ter a bur­glar met his death try­ing to raid his home in South East Lon­don.

So the de­ci­sion that the plucky for­mer RAC of­fice man­ager will not face any charges is the cor­rect one – the one the na­tion ex­pected.

Ca­reer crim­i­nal Henry Vin­cent’s fam­ily will un­der­stand­ably be mourn­ing him.

But the fact is the vil­lain would still be alive had he not bro­ken into the prop­erty of an el­derly cou­ple in the mid­dle of the night.

We all needed to be as­sured we are legally able to pro­tect our­selves and loved ones if con­fronted by a tooled-up tres­passer.

Now we know the law is on our side.

VIC­TIM Wi­dow June Strat­ton

VIC­TIM Re­tired en­gi­neer Cyril Good­earl

BUR­GLAR Henry Vin­cent died dur­ing raid VIC­TIM OAP Richard Os­born-Brooks

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