Henry Vincent sister denies he was a ‘violent person’ and tells inquest ‘no-one deserves to die’

Henry Vincent was stabbed and died following a burglary in Hither Green in April, 2018

Henry Vincent was stabbed and died following a burglary in Hither Green in April, 2018

Henry Vincent was stabbed and died following a burglary in Hither Green in April, 2018

The sister of a burglar stabbed to death by an elderly homeowner denied he was a ‘violent person’ at his inquest today.

Henry Vincent, 37, was high on cocaine and heroin and armed with a screwdriver when he broke into the home of Richard Osborn-Brooks, then 78, last year. 

Mr Osborn-Brooks was woken in the early hours of April 4 by two men breaking into the 1920s terraced house in Hither Green.

He fought off the burglars and Vincent fled the scene but collapsed in the street and later died in University Hospital Lewisham.

Mr Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but later released and told by police he would face no further action.

Giving evidence at her brother’s inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court today, Rosie Vincent said: ‘My brother was not a violent person.’ 

Pathologist Simon Poole, who carried out the post mortem on Vincent, said in a statement the toxicology report indicated ‘a recent use of both cocaine and heroin’.

He added Vincent ‘may have been experiencing the effects’ of the drugs at the time of the raid. The cause of death was given as an incised wound to the chest.

Rose Lee, mother of Henry Vincent, arriving at Southwark Coroner's Court today

Rose Lee, mother of Henry Vincent, arriving at Southwark Coroner's Court today

His sister Rosie outside court

His sister Rosie outside court

Left Rose Lee, the mother of Henry Vincent, arrives at Southwark Coroner’s Court. Right, his sister Rosie outside court 

The pensioner and his wife Maureen were not allowed to return to their home after the incident for their own safety.

Giving evidence, Ms Vincent was questioned by the coroner about whether she knew her brother would be going to the house in Hither Green.

Senior coroner Andrew Harris said: ‘Did you have any discussion with your brother about his going to this household? Did he know Mr Osborn-Brooks?’

She replied: ‘As far as I know, no.’

The coroner continued: ‘Was he a man of short temper or violence?’

Ms Vincent said: ‘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 if there was anything the family particularly wanted to come out of the hearing, she continued: ‘Will we ever understand? Will we ever understand?’

Mr Harris said: ‘You want to understand as much as you can from these proceedings what happened?’

Vincent’s sister said: ‘Yes, thank you very much’.

Mr Osborn-Brooks was woken in the early hours of April 4 by two men breaking into the 1920s terraced house in Hither Green

Mr Osborn-Brooks was woken in the early hours of April 4 by two men breaking into the 1920s terraced house in Hither Green

Mr Osborn-Brooks was woken in the early hours of April 4 by two men breaking into the 1920s terraced house in Hither Green

A police officer called to the scene at Hither Green said he found three people standing in the road when he arrived and Vincent lying on the road.

When his t-shirt was lifted, one puncture wound to the upper right hand side of the chest was discovered, it was said. 

The officer said he performed CPR for 15 minutes until the London Ambulance Service arrived. Vincent was taken by ambulance to hospital but pronounced dead at 3.47am, the coroner heard.

The inquest continues.

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