Tempers flare at funeral of Hither Green burglar Henry Vincent as mourners 'throw rocks and eggs at onlookers'

·Contributor
Henry Vincent’s funeral has been marred by arrests after he was killed by homeowner Richard Osborn Brooks
Henry Vincent’s funeral has been marred by arrests after he was killed by homeowner Richard Osborn Brooks

Violence broke out at the funeral of a career criminal who was fatally stabbed by a pensioner whose home he was burgling.

Henry Vincent, 37, was killed by Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, who fought back against the intruder in his house in Hither Green last month.

The service, which cost a reported £100,000, was marred by violence as mourners travelled to St Mary’s Church in south-east London.

Vincent’s father was heard shouting ‘The king is dead’ after leaving the church.

Reporters covering the proceedings were asked by police to leave the scene due after funeral guests threw rocks and eggs at them.

Rocks were thrown at reporters by funeral-goers (SWNS)
Rocks were thrown at reporters by funeral-goers (SWNS)
Mourners walk behind Henry Vincent’s coffin, with one holding a catapult
Mourners walk behind Henry Vincent’s coffin, with one holding a catapult
Police arrest a mourner during tense scenes at Henry Vincent’s funeral
Police arrest a mourner during tense scenes at Henry Vincent’s funeral

As police helicopters flew above the church, two groups of roughly 540 friends and family surrounded the press and began throwing punches, rock and eggs for 30 seconds before police rushed over.

One man was arrested on suspicion of assault near the church yard, police confirmed.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: ‘A male believed to be in his teens was arrested on suspicion of assault following an incident on High Street, Orpington, at the junction of Elizabeth Way at around 1.15pm. He has been released under investigation to report to a police station at a later date.’

Mike Hughes, a reporter for London radio station LBC, said: ‘In my 10 years as a journalist, I have never felt so under threat.

‘I’ve had bottles thrown in my face. I am covered in egg, which was pelted at me. It all came from members of the funeral cortege. I was surrounded by people who were very angry, very upset and became very violent, very quickly.’

One mourner said: ‘His body has been kept in an open casket for three days outside his mum’s house so people can see him.

Henry Vincent’s funeral cortege passes through St Mary Cray, London, on Thursday afternoon. (SWNS)
Henry Vincent’s funeral cortege passes through St Mary Cray, London, on Thursday afternoon. (SWNS)
Mourners are seen leaving Henry Vincent’s funeral
Mourners are seen leaving Henry Vincent’s funeral

‘His mum is devastated, she has not left the house at all for days. After the funeral we’re coming back to the mum’s house for the wake and there will be a massive bonfire.

‘People will the sit around and say nice things about him. I know he’s done a bad thing, but he’s dead and it’s only right for the family to pay their respects.’

Ugly scenes were witnessed as mourners at Henry Vincent’s funeral clashed with the press
Ugly scenes were witnessed as mourners at Henry Vincent’s funeral clashed with the press

Earlier, angry residents near the street where Vincent was killed formed a blockade in case the procession passed nearby.

One neighbour, who gave his name only as Dave, has still parked his car at the end of the road in a bid to block any attempt to bring the cortege past the house.

He said: ‘I think it’s a disgrace that they want to bring the funeral past after all the flower debacle. It’s just not on.’

The 57-year-old said he had decided to park up despite police guidance that the funeral procession is not due to enter the area.

A mourner looks ahead from a window of the funeral procession for Henry Vincent in south London. (SWNS)
A mourner looks ahead from a window of the funeral procession for Henry Vincent in south London. (SWNS)

‘There is the possibility that they might bring the body down in a hearse first and do a pass-by and then go back and have the actual funeral (elsewhere)’, he said.

South Park Crescent in Hither Green has become the centre of tensions after memorials to Vincent were repeatedly torn down opposite the house where he was killed by Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, who stabbed the intruder as he defended his home.

Meanwhile at the scene of the burglary in Hither Green, south London, a motorist who would only identify himself as ‘Dave’ formed a blockade at the entrance to the street. (Getty)
Meanwhile at the scene of the burglary in Hither Green, south London, a motorist who would only identify himself as ‘Dave’ formed a blockade at the entrance to the street. (Getty)
Local resident Dave blocked the entrance to the street (PA)
Local resident Dave blocked the entrance to the street (PA)
Homeowner Richard Osborn-Brooks will face no further action after burglar Henry Vincent was fatally stabbed in the pensioner’s home last month. (PA/Getty)
Homeowner Richard Osborn-Brooks will face no further action after burglar Henry Vincent was fatally stabbed in the pensioner’s home last month. (PA/Getty)

The 30-minute service reportedly saw 200 family and friends attending, and included some of Vincent’s favourite songs including ‘If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time’ by R Kelly and Celine Dion’s ‘I’m Your Angel’.