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London pensioner held on suspicion of murder after burglar stabbed

By Jack Hardy

A burglary suspect who died after a struggle with a pensioner had an accomplice who dragged him towards a van before leaving him for dead, according to an eyewitness.

A 78-year-old man, who was named locally last night as Richard Osborn-Brooks, has been arrested on suspicion of murder after fatally wounding the intruder during a suspected burglary at his home at around 12.45am yesterday. Officers were called to reports of a burglary in progress after two men entered a house in South Park Crescent in Hither Green, south-east London, the Metropolitan Police said.

One suspect, armed with a screwdriver, forced the 78-year-old home-owner into his kitchen when he discovered them, while his accomplice went upstairs, the force said. Detectives believe a struggle ensued between “one of the males and the home-owner” and the 38-year-old intruder was stabbed in the upper body but they refused to confirm whether the suspect had been stabbed with the screwdriver.

He was later found collapsed in nearby Further Green Road by paramedics from London Ambulance Service, who took him to a central London hospital where he died at 3.37am.

One eyewitness, who lives in the road, said he saw an accomplice try to rescue the suspect before fleeing the scene.

He said: “I went to bed at a quarter to 12, but before I got to sleep, my partner and I heard a man on the street moaning and groaning only metres away.

“At first I thought he was drunk, but when I looked out of the window, I saw a white Vauxhall Astra van pulled up beside him. A black man was saying to the guy on the ground ‘come on, get in the van’. He was trying to drag him but it wasn’t working.

“The black guy then looked up to my window and saw me looking out, so he ran back into the van and drove off north.

“My wife then heard the clang of metal on the ground and saw him throw something out of the van’s window. I went downstairs straight away and was the first on the scene. The man on the ground was white and was bleeding heavily from his chest through his shirt.”

The witness said believed the man’s injury was a knife wound.

“People have been talking about a screwdriver but this wasn’t a screwdriver wound, this was a knife. I think that it was a knife and I think from what my partner said that the black guy pulled it out and threw it away.”

The second suspect fled the scene and has yet to be found.

The dead suspect’s next of kin have been informed and a formal identification is due to take place.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out in due course.

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