Torn-down shrine to suspected burglar killed by pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks is replaced by family

Family members of a career criminal who was killed by a pensioner as he reportedly tried to burgle his home have replaced tributes to him after they were torn down.

Flowers and balloons had been left tied to a fence near Richard Osborn-Brooks’ house in memory of suspected burglar Henry Vincent.

On Monday night, they were torn down.


Three women arrived on Tuesday afternoon to re-fasten 20 bouquets and balloons to the same fence.

Vincent was killed in a botched burglary at the home in Hither Green, south London last week, leading to the widely-debated arrest of Mr Osborn-Brooks.

The pensioner has since been released without charge but reportedly has not returned home with his wife due to safety fears.

A so-called ‘shrine’ had formed just 20 yards away from the couple’s house as Vincent’s family and friends left growing numbers of flowers, balloons and cards.

‘Shrine’ – flowers, balloons and notes for Henry Vincent were torn down by angry vigilantes and neighbours (Picture: PA)

While police were unable to remove the tributes, a vigilante has stepped in, videoing the moment they pulled the flowers off the fence.

The man, who has posted the video under the pseudonym Cecil Coley, told Yahoo News UK that he drove to the scene with the intention of tearing down the tributes.

He said he had been ‘disgusted’ by members of the Vincent family who had put the flowers on the fence and that they ‘shouldn’t put it in other people’s faces’.

He said no police officers had tried to stop him as he removed the tributes.

Mr Coley said he had been advised to change his name by his own family, who feared reprisals by relatives of Vincent – a career criminal.

‘I’m not worried – I don’t care about my safety’, he said, ‘but I can’t put my family in danger.’

‘I just had a compulsion to do something right in the world.’

Cecil Coley posted the footage on Facebook, writing: “When I heard that the family of Henry Vincent (the burglar that got stabbed to death by his intended victim), had placed flowers on the road where he died, I was extremely furious.


“So I drove to South London, to the road, and saw the flowers and stuff. I noticed some unlawfully attached onto a fence, which is someone’s private property, so the gentle who owns the house gave me verbal consent to remove.

“He told me that he was intending on removing the flowers himself tomorrow, but I gladly did it for him voluntarily, afterall [sic] he was an elderly gentleman himself as well.”

Action – Cecil Coley posted videos of the flowers being pulled down on Facebook (Picture: Facebook/Cecil Coley)

The video was later followed by a picture of the flowers laid at a local graveyard with the comment: “this is the flowers left for Henry Vincent happily donated to a local grave yard [sic]”

The actions sparked messages of support from Facebook users, some of whom suggested that the ‘shrine’ was being used by Vincent’s travelling community to intimidate Mr Osborn-Brooks and his wife.

Tributes – Vincent died after he was stabbed at the house in Hither Green, south London, last week (Picture: SWNS)

Neighbours reportedly called the shrine “disgraceful” and an insult to Mr Osborn-Brooks and his wife.

Kayleigh Taylor, 26, told Mail Online: It’s so insensitive, so disgusting it’s make my blood boil.

“Those burglars could have broken into any of our homes that night so they’ll get absolutely no sympathy from us.”

Fear – Mr Osborn-Brooks and his wife have reportedly not returned home due to safety fears (Picture: Facebook)

A tribute believed to be from Vincent’s daughter said she would “never be ashamed to call him daddy”.

It said: “Strangers can say what they like about you, they don’t no who you was so I don’t care, I new you and I loved you more then anything in the world.”

It was also reported that a member of the travelling community had warned that they would not rest until they had got revenge for the death of “one of their own”.

Meanwhile police are continuing to hunt Vincent’s accomplice who fled the scene that night.

The Met Police released a picture of 28-year-old Billy Jeeves, saying he had links to Orpington and Swanley in Kent, and Cambridge.

Investigation – police are continuing to hunt for 28-year-old Billy Jeeves in connection with the burglary (Picture: PA)

Officers also want to hear from anybody who may have seen his vehicle, a white Vauxhall Astra van with registration GU52 AXT, in the days and hours before and after the burglary.


The van was found burnt out and destroyed on the evening of Saturday April 7 in Star Lane, near Hockingdon Lane in Orpington, Kent.