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
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.”
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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