Finally, violent thugs are sent a warning
IT is difficult to imagine the sickening terror of waking in the dead of night to find armed, masked burglars in your home.
But that traumatic scenario confronted Richard Osborn-Brooks last year. Grabbing a kitchen knife to protect his elderly wife, the 79-year-old told career criminal Henry Vincent – high on drugs – to ‘get out’.
When the intruder, brandishing a screwdriver, lunged forward, he was fatally impaled on the blade.
Yesterday, in a victory for common sense, a coroner ruled the raider had been ‘lawfully killed’. Frightened Mr Osborn-Brooks acted in self-defence. The judgment was a refreshing reinforcement – by a court – of the so-called ‘bash a burglar’ laws.
It is said that every Englishman’s home is his castle. So in 2013, the Tories strengthened the rules to dispel concerns that householders who used violence to repel an intruder would face prosecution.
Some argue such measures could make criminals more brutal. But the Mail asks: Could they get much more aggressive? The dead man’s mother moaned that Mr Osborn-Brooks didn’t ‘step back… like a normal person’. But is it normal to snort cocaine, grab a weapon and rob a pensioner? Answer: No.
Despite not being prosecuted for the killing, Mr Osborn-Brooks carries a life sentence. He is in hiding, unable to return to his old community for fear of retribution.
Because the police’s record of solving burglaries is so woeful, many criminals think they have little to fear. This ruling sends a long- overdue warning that they prey on the innocent at their peril.