A card has been left outside the home of the pensioner who stabbed a burglar to death this weekend. The much-publicised news story involves 78-year-old Richard Osborn-Brooks, of Hither Green, and his wife, who apparently suffers from dementia. Henry Vincent, a career criminal who regularly robbed vulnerable pensioners, broke into the Osborn-Brooks home on Tuesday night and its understood that a scuffle ensued where elderly Richard stabbed the would-be burglar to death. Mr Osborn-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murder after the botched raid, but there was an outpouring of public sympathy for the pensioner and he was released with no charges.
Despite the public sympathy for the pensioner, a mysterious person appears to have left a tribute for the burglar at the steps of his home that describes his 'heart of gold'. The troubling card was left amongst some flowers at the crime scene, which has now been boarded up as police are concerned for the welfare of Osborn-Brooks and his wife. The full card reads ‘Henry, loved and cared for by many. A heart of gold, may god bless you and give you peace in heaven xxx. Sorely missed’ and was left attached a wooden corner post near the property. The mystery card-leaver might feel sorry for the dead man, but public opinion is against him. After the arrest, nearly 20,000 people signed a petition calling for the police investigation to be dismissed, and more than £7,000 was raised to pay for Mr Osborn-Brooks legal costs.
Henry Vincent was not alone in his attempt to raid the elderly couple's home, a second burglar called Billy Jeeves is understood to have escaped and is now on the run. Richard and Maureen Osborn-Brooks may be given new identities under witness protection after the case, to guard them from possible revenge attacks. The couple haven't been to their house since the robbery, and the property has been fitted with security grilles and a camera has been mounted on a nearby lamppost. It's understood that Vincent belonged to a gang of criminals based in Orpington, South-East London and their next movements after the death of their fellow gang member aren't known.