(BBC) — A 79-year-old man who killed an armed burglar with a kitchen knife acted lawfully, an inquest has decided.
Richard Osborn-Brooks stabbed Henry Vincent with a knife in Hither Green, south-east London, in April last year.
Mr Osborn-Brooks told Southwark Coroner’s Court the 37-year-old had threatened him with a screwdriver, then “rushed forward” and “ran into the knife I was holding”.
Coroner Andrew Harris recorded a verdict of lawfully killing.
‘I’ll stick you’
Speaking by videolink, Mr Osborn-Brooks told the inquest he still believed the intruder was “intending to do me harm” during the break-in on 4 April 2018.
He said two men had knocked on his door, grabbed him and pushed him inside.
Both then demanded money as one then shoved him toward the kitchen and the other ran upstairs.
He told the hearing that when he grabbed the knife, Mr Vincent’s accomplice fled out of the front door but the intruder came down the stairs holding the screwdriver and saying “get out of my way or I’ll stick you with this”.
Mr Osborn-Brooks said he had then warned Mr Vincent that his weapon was “bigger than yours”.
“I thought he would look at my knife… and he would take the opportunity to run out the front door which was open.
“He definitely didn’t try to get out of the front door, he came towards me,” Mr Osborn-Brooks said.
Mr Vincent’s cause of death was given as an incised wound to the chest.
His sister had told the hearing her brother was “not a violent person”.
“He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother. No one deserves to die,” Rosie Vincent said.
In a statement, the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination said a toxicology report indicated “a recent use of both cocaine and heroin”.
He said Mr Vincent “may have been experiencing the effects” at the time of the raid.
Senior coroner Andrew Harris said: “The interaction that led to the stabbing was the simultaneous approach of the deceased with a small screwdriver and the forward movement of the householder with a kitchen knife, leading to moderate force being applied by the knife to Mr Vincent’s chest, and its penetration.
“The householder was terrified and asserted he acted in self-defence after an assault by the other intruder. He was close to, but not obstructing, the exit by the intruder.”