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Hither Green 'burglary death' suspect, 78, bailed

Richard Osborn-Brooks
Image caption Richard Osborn-Brooks has been bailed until May

A 78-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder after a suspected burglar was stabbed to death has been bailed.

The man, named locally as Richard Osborn-Brooks, found two intruders in South Park Crescent, Hither Green, south-east London, early on Wednesday.

A man armed with a screwdriver forced the homeowner into his kitchen where there was a struggle and the suspect was stabbed, the Met said.

The suspected burglar who died has been named as Henry Vincent, 37, from Kent.

Mr Vincent was named and pictured by Kent Police in January as part of an investigation into a distraction burglary.

Jewellery and valuables were stolen from a man in his 70s, police said at the time.

Mr Osborn-Brooks has been bailed until May pending further inquiries.

Image copyright Kent Police/PA Wire
Image caption Henry Vincent, 37, was under investigation over a separate burglary involving another elderly victim

Police said they were called to the property over reports of a burglary when they found Mr Vincent collapsed in nearby Further Green Road with a stab wound to the upper body.

A witness said an accomplice dragged Mr Vincent toward a van before leaving him for dead.

A second suspect fled the scene and is still being hunted by police.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Forensic officers investigate the drains near the scene in South Park Crescent

Det Ch Insp Simon Harding appealed for anyone with information regarding the second suspect - who is believed to be a white male and fled the scene in a white van - to come forward.

"He may have told someone what happened at the address," he added.

On Thursday, a team used machinery to move a parked car so that officers could access a drain on the street.

Investigators lifted off the cover and sifted through buckets of liquid pulled from the drain before putting the green Rover back.

A woman also left a bunch of flowers at the police cordon on Further Green Road, yards from where Mr Vincent fell.

Flowers addressed to Mr Osborn-Brooks's home were delivered to the police cordon on South Park Crescent by a courier.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A forensic tent was set up outside Richard Osborn-Brooks' home in Hither Green

One man who lives on the street said there had been a recent spate of burglaries in the area and his home had been broken into in recent months.

Adam Lake, another local resident, said he "wasn't surprised" to hear about the burglary.

"I feel terrible for the man that was burgled. He doesn't deserve to be punished for defending himself," he said.

A neighbour of Mr Osborn-Brooks, who asked not to be named, supported his right to defend the neighbourhood.

She said: "[I've heard] he's a carer - this is a pensioner that has worked all his life who wants to live and die quietly."

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