Fi­nally, vi­o­lent thugs are sent a warn­ing

Daily Mail - - News -

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.

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