‘It haunts me,’ says father who stabbed burglar to death
Homeowner speaks out on battle with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder after 2011 ordeal
A FATHER who killed a burglar has told how he is still haunted by flashbacks every day, almost seven years after the incident.
Vincent Cooke, 46, stabbed an intruder to death in his home near Stockport, Gtr Manchester, in 2011.
He still has therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Mr Cooke warned that the ordeal for Richard Osborn-Brooks, who was released without charge this week after killing a career criminal in his home in south London, is far from over.
“The psychological impact has been something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” he said.
Mr Cooke was home alone in Bramhall when two intruders burst through his front door and held a knife to his throat, ordering him to hand over his valuables.
He stabbed one of the intruders, 37-year-old career criminal Raymond Jacob, after the man attacked him.
“All I knew then was that I was in a fight for my life,” Mr Cooke said.
“I had waited for some opportunity to escape but none had presented itself. So this was it. I had no choice but to fight for my family and for myself.”
Jacob later died of his injuries while his accomplice, Michael Thorpe, 34, fled the scene and was ultimately given a jail term for his crimes.
Like Mr Osborn-Brooks, 78, Mr Cooke was arrested on his doorstep that night and taken to the cells.
“It was horrifying, a whole new world to me,” said Mr Cooke. “I’d never been in trouble with the law before and there I was, cowering behind bars, praying it was all just a dreadful dream.”
He was released on bail the next day, but unlike Mr Osborn-Brooks – who was released without any action on Friday, just days after the initial incident – Mr Cooke had to wait four weeks before police confirmed he would not be charged with murder.
He says the nightmares, anxiety and suffering are ongoing.
“I’m still having therapy,” he said. “I’m a different person ... less trusting, more fearful, more withdrawn.”
The family couldn’t even return to their home at first because news crews were camped outside and there were fears of revenge attacks.
It took Mr Cooke six months to get back to work, and his business did not recover until 2014.
His wife and son, who returned during the attack but fled when Mr Cooke shouted at them to run, have also suffered. His wife endured depression and his son missed a lot of school.
“[I’m] still afraid that there might be someone out there who is after me,” said Mr Cooke. He hopes Mr OsbornBrooks, whose wife has dementia, is not affected in the same way.
“To anyone who has to go through such a thing, I’d say: get professional support, keep your family and friends close by, and don’t be ashamed of your actions. I fought for my life that day and it haunts me on a daily basis,” he said.
“I suspect I will carry the pain, the guilt, the suffering and the fear with me until I die.”
‘I was in a fight for my life. I will carry the pain, the guilt and the fear with me until I die’
Vincent Cooke was attacked in his own home by career criminal Raymond Jacob, inset, in 2011. Top: Mr Cooke’s Bramhall home