Burglar fatally stabbed by homeowner was lawfully killed, inquest rules

A career criminal fatally stabbed by an elderly homeowner as he raided the pensioner’s home was lawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Henry Vincent’s chest was pierced with a 12-inch kitchen knife brandished by Richard Osborn-Brooks, who had warned the screwdriver-wielding intruder that his weapon was “bigger than yours and if you don’t leave my house you will be sorry”.

But Vincent, who had cocaine and heroin in his system, ignored his warning and instead “ran into” the blade, Mr Osborn-Brooks told Southwark Coroner’s Court heard.

The 79-year-old had told Vincent “get out of my house you bastard or it will be the worse for you” as he attempted to protect his elderly wife Maureen, the inquest heard.

Balaclava-wearing Vincent and another masked accomplice entered the house in South Park Crescent, Hither Green, south-east London, demanding cash in the early hours of April 4 last year, the inquest was told.

Senior coroner Andrew Harris recorded a verdict of lawful killing on Thursday.

He said: “In considering the force it would seem that given there is two intruders at night, one with a weapon, the use of moderate force would seem to me to reasonably be proportionate.

“It seems to me the combination of unpredictability and fear were factors that have to be taken into account considering the proportionality of the force that was used.”

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