The sister of a burglar who was stabbed to death by a pensioner in his own home has told the inquest into his death “no-one deserves to die.”
Henry Vincent died from a stab wound inflicted by elderly homeowner Richard Osborn-Brooks on April 4 last year.
Vincent, who had heroin and cocaine in his system, had entered the property in Hither Green, south-east London with his accomplice to burgle the pensioner’s home.
However a struggle ensued and Vincent died after being stabbed by the 79-year-old homeowner.
Speaking to police immediately after the confrontation, the pensioner told the burglar who was armed with a screwdriver ‘my knife’s bigger than yours.’
He was pushed inside by the two men and grabbed the largest kitchen knife from a six-knife holder.
The coroner, reading Mr Osborn-Brooks’s police statement to him, said: “You said ‘I think you’re wrong because mine’s bigger than yours and if you don’t leave my house you will be sorry’.
“I was just showing him that the knife I had was actually bigger than the screwdriver. So if he was to lunge at me he would hit my knife rather than hit me first.”
Vincent’s mother Rose Lee and sister Rosie Vincent were present as the inquest began at Southwark Coroner’s Court on Thursday morning.
His sister, Ms Vincent, told the inquest: “My brother was not a violent person. He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother.
“No one deserves to die.”
Asked what she wanted to come out of the proceedings, she replied: “Will we ever truly understand?”
Mr Osborn-Brooks will give evidence at the inquest behind a screen and via video-link.
The pensioner was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but was released without charge.
However the arrest triggered a public outcry and an online fundraising campaign in support of the pensioner subsequently raised thousands of pounds.
After the death, Vincent’s friends and family sparked outrage among locals by laying flowers and cards opposite the then boarded-up house.
The tributes were repeatedly torn down by neighbours and well-wishers angry that the career criminal was being remembered in such a way.
The cause of death was given as an incised wound to the chest.