Osborn-Brooks: What we know about pensioner accused of stabbing 'burglar'

Philip Whiteside, News Reporter

A 78-year-old arrested on suspicion of murder over the death of an intruder in his home has been released on bail.

He has been named by Sky sources as Richard Osborn-Brooks. But what do we know about him?

:: He lives in Hither Green, southeast London

Police received a call in the early hours of Wednesday, saying that a burglary was under way.

The occupant, Osborn-Brooks, told police he found two men inside his home.

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It is believed that Osborn-Brooks was forced into the kitchen by one of the suspects armed with a screwdriver while the other went upstairs.

Police said that, during a struggle, a 37-year-old man found inside the property sustained a stab injury to his upper body.

The victim was found by paramedics collapsed in a street nearby and taken to a central London hospital where he was pronounced dead about three hours after the alleged break-in.

:: He was hurt

Police said Osborn-Brooks suffered bruising to his arms, but his injuries were not life threatening.

:: Witnesses say the dead man's wound was not caused by a screwdriver

One witness who asked not to be named said: "My partner and I heard a man on the street moaning and groaning only metres away.

"I saw a white Vauxhall Astra van pulled up beside him. A black man was saying to the guy on the ground, 'Come on, get in the van'.

"The black guy then looked up to my window and saw me... so he ran back into the van and drove off.

"My wife then heard the clang of metal on the ground and saw him throw something out of the van's window.

"The man on the ground was white and was bleeding heavily. People have been talking about a screwdriver but this wasn't a screwdriver wound, this was a knife. The wound was an inch long.

"I think that it was a knife and I think from what my partner said that the black guy pulled it out and threw it away."

:: Osborn-Brooks was arrested on Wednesday 4 March

Police initially arrested Osborn-Brooks on suspicion of grievous bodily harm but later rearrested him on suspicion of murder.

He was detained overnight on Wednesday and released on Thursday morning, pending further inquiries.

He has been told to return to a police station on a date in May.

:: He is retired and is said to be looking after someone

A neighbour said he stopped work 26 years ago.

Another anonymous neighbour described him as a "carer".

:: Neighbours say it is wrong for him to be prosecuted

Adam Lake, who lives near the scene, 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.

"He was just protecting himself after all."

Another long-term neighbour, who asked not to be named, added: "He deserves a medal. You cannot break into people's houses.

"I lived in America, if this was in America this wouldn't be a big issue."

:: Police are looking for the second suspected intruder, who they say is white, not black

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding 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 to contact our incident room as soon as possible."