Intruder killed after raid on OAP's home wanted for separate break-in
Tributes were paid to 37-year-old Henry Vincent, from Kent, by family and friends on social media, with one reading he will “never be forgotten”.
In January, he was named and pictured by Kent Police investigating a distraction burglary when jewellery and valuables were stolen from a man in his 70s.
Vincent died after being stabbed during a raid on the home of Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, in South Park Crescent, Hither Green, south-east London, at around 12.45am on Wednesday.
The pensioner’s arrest on suspicion of murder sparked anger from neighbours and an online fundraising campaign which gathered hundreds of pounds in several hours.
He was released on bail pending further inquiries, the Metropolitan Police said on Thursday.
During the botched raid an accomplice dragged Vincent toward a van before leaving him for dead, according to a witness.
He was found collapsed in nearby Further Green Road by paramedics from London Ambulance Service, who took him to hospital where he died shortly before 4am.
The second man has not been found and at least one suspect was believed to be armed with a screwdriver, police said.
Detectives think a struggle took place between one of the burglars and the elderly homeowner before Vincent was stabbed in the upper body, but would not confirm if he was stabbed with the screwdriver.
Adam Lake, who lives near the scene, said he did not feel safe from crime and defended Mr Osborn-Brooks.
He said: “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.”
DCI Simon Harding, leading the investigation, said: “I would like to speak with anyone who has information regarding the outstanding suspect from the burglary, who is believed to be a white male; he may have told someone what happened at the address.
“It is possible that he fled the scene in a vehicle, possibly a white van, leaving the scene in the direction of Further Green Road. Did you see this vehicle? Do you know where it went after this? I ask anyone who can help to call our incident room as soon as possible.”
A Kent Police spokeswoman said the appeal over the distraction burglary expired in February but the investigation was ongoing.
She said: “Following an appeal for information, a man was arrested and released under investigation. “
Anyone with information should contact the Incident Room on 020 8721 4205 or call 101 quoting reference CAD214/4Apr.