British police arrested a 78-year-old man after he allegedly stabbed and killed an armed intruder who broke into his home early Wednesday morning, The Guardian reported.
Two men broke into Richard Osborn-Brooks' home in Hither Green, southeast London, just after midnight, according to police. One of the men, Henry Vincent, 37, armed with a screwdriver forced the elderly man into the kitchen where a struggle broke out.
During the fight, Osborn-Brooks stabbed the burglar in the upper body. The homeowner suffered minor injuries, police said.
Vincent's accomplice was in another part of the home when the fight occurred, but he did drag Vincent outside and left him for dead on the pavement before he fled the scene.
The stabbing victim died a few hours later at a local hospital.
Metropolitan Police said Osborn-Brooks was arrested "on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and further arrested on suspicion of murder."
What do the neighbors say?
Many neighbors said they support the man for defending himself.
"I saw him a few times. He's a lovely old man and he cares for his wife who I think has dementia or is disabled," neighbor Nick Myatt told The Sun. "He's a nice man, nice to talk to. He's an old man. It's a shame really. I hope the law sees sense and let's him off. I don't think it's right."
“He deserves a medal," a woman who asked not to be named told The Guardian. "You cannot break into people’s houses. He’s a carer. This is a pensioner that has worked all his life who wants to live and die quietly. I lived in America, if this was in America this wouldn’t be a big issue."
If it was self-defense, why was the man arrested?
In the United Kingdom, police are required to conduct a complete investigation before determining whether a case was self-defense or anger after the event, according to Ian Kelcey, co-chair of the Law Society’s criminal law committee.
“The police have to go through the investigative process to show it’s been robust and send it on to the Crown Prosecution Service. The difficulty is how you do a robust investigation as well as a humane investigation for someone of that age,” Kelcey told The Guardian. “If someone is threatening you or attacking you with a screwdriver, it’s probably fair enough to grab a knife in self-defense. It’s proportionate."
Osborn-Brooks was released on bond until May, according to officials.
Police are still searching for the second burglary suspect.