‘Poor taste’ shrine to stabbed burglar set up near victim’s home is dismantled
Family and friends of Henry Vincent had left tributes to him opposite the Hither Green home of pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks.
Tributes to an intruder who died in a botched burglary after a struggle with a pensioner have been torn down and branded “in poor taste”.
Burst balloons, soiled cards and ruined flowers lined the pavement outside the south-east London home of Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, who stabbed Henry Vincent last Wednesday.
Family and friends of the 37-year-old erected the shrine opposite the pensioner’s home in South Park Crescent, Hither Green, on Monday – but within hours it had been dismantled.
Video emerged online showing a man pulling the floral tributes down from fences.
Resident Theresa Webb, 43, said of the shrine: “It was inappropriate, poor taste really.
“You’re thinking ‘How long will it be up there?’ I’m relieved it’s down. There was 101 bouquets down there.”
Saverimuthu Augustine, 78, said he was “annoyed” that some flowers had been attached to fences around his house.
He said: “I don’t appreciate it.
“If it’s a normal person it’s different, but he went and burgled a house – it could have been my house.”
Vincent’s alleged accomplice, Billy Jeeves, 28, is being sought over the failed burglary, Scotland Yard said.
His burnt-out Vauxhall Astra van was found on Saturday in St Mary Cray, near Orpington, south-east London.
Several police vehicles were parked outside Mr Osborn-Brook’s house on Tuesday, though the pensioner was not there.
A man who said he had lived in the street for more than 30 years said he had installed new locks on his house since the raid.
He said the tributes should have been left alone to “die off”, adding: “I’m worried these people might come back and cause a rumpus. We lock the door during the day now, we never used to.”
Mr Osborn-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murder and released on bail, but was told on Friday that no action would be taken on Friday, the Metropolitan Police said.
The pensioner’s arrest provoked an outcry from neighbours and an online fundraising campaign has gathered thousands of pounds.
Officers were called to reports of a burglary in progress at 12.45am last Wednesday, after two men entered the house.
One suspect, armed with a screwdriver, forced the 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 intruder was stabbed in the upper body. It is unclear what implement was used to inflict the fatal blow.
Both men then apparently attempted a getaway, but Vincent collapsed in nearby Further Green Road.
In January, Vincent was named and pictured by Kent Police investigating a distraction burglary in which jewellery and valuables were stolen from a man in his 70s.
His inquest is due to open on Tuesday afternoon.