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Pensioner facing murder quiz after intruder dies following struggle

The 78-year-old home-owner reported a man had been injured in a suspected burglary.

A pensioner has been arrested on suspicion of murder after fatally wounding an intruder during a suspected burglary at his home.

Officers were called to reports of a burglary in progress at around 12.45am on Wednesday 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.

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.

A witness described seeing the injured man stripped of his clothes as between six to eight paramedics attempted to save him.

Forensic officers at the scene in South Park Crescent in Hither Green (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The resident, who asked not to be named, lives opposite the spot where the alleged intruder fell and was awoken by flashing emergency service lights.

He told the Press Association: “I saw a commotion outside and looked out of my window to see a white man lying on the ground.

“He had been stripped and was being given CPR by medics for at least 20 minutes, then he was taken away in an ambulance.”

A forensic officer removes an evidence bag (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Police were unable to confirm whether the suspect had been stabbed with the screwdriver.

The pensioner, who suffered bruising to his arms, was initially arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm but has been further arrested on suspicion of murder, the Met said.

He remains in custody at a south London police station.

(Jamie Johnson/PA)

At least five forensic officers entered the house on South Park Crescent just before 1pm.

A large purple forensic tent has been erected by the front door, and a wide cordon is being manned by around a dozen police officers.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said the homeowner had been retired for many years.

“He’s been retired for 26 years. I did some building work on his house a while ago, but I haven’t seen him for about three weeks.” said the neighbour.

A forensic tent in South Park Crescent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

One man, who lives on the adjoining Further Green Road, said there had been a recent spate of burglaries in the area.

“I was burgled in the last couple of months,” said the retired man, who did not want to be named.

“I was renovating the house and they broke in and took a laptop. I know this has happened to others recently.”

Adam Lake, who lives near the scene, also said he did not feel safe from crime.

He said: “When I heard it was a burglary I wasn’t surprised, there’s been a noticeable increase in crime in the area.

Forensic officers at work (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“We’ve even had to put up CCTV at home because we didn’t feel safe. Such an awful event, I feel terrible for the man that was burgled.

“He doesn’t deserve to be punished for defending himself, and the neighbours that I’ve spoken to all agree that the priority needs to be to support him after everything that he’s been through.

“He was just protecting himself after all.”

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.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting CAD214/4Apr. To remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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