London, England – An elderly man has been charged with murder, after the home invader he tackled in his kitchen died from stab wounds.
Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, was asleep in his bed with his wife, 76-year-old Maureen, just after midnight on Wednesday morning, when two men broke into his residence, the Daily Mirror reported.
One of the intruders, who was armed with a screwdriver, forced Osborn-Brooks into the kitchen area of the home, where a struggle ensued, according to the Daily Mail.
By the time it was over, the 38-year-old suspect had sustained stab wounds to his chest. He ran out onto a nearby roadway, where he collapsed.
“At first I thought he was drunk, but when I looked out of the window, I saw a white Vauxhall Astra van pulled up beside him,” a neighbor told Sky News. “A black man was saying to the guy on the ground, ‘Come on, get in the van’. He was trying to drag him but it wasn’t working.”
The neighbor said the second suspect looked up and realized he was being watched, so he jumped back into the van and took off.
The neighbor then ran out to the street.
“The man on the ground was white and was bleeding heavily from his chest through his shirt,” he told Sky News. “People have been talking about a screwdriver, but this wasn’t a screwdriver wound – this was a knife. The wound was an inch long.”
The man was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 3:30 a.m., Sky News reported.
Police said that they were searching for the second suspect.
Osborn-Brooks sustained bruising to his arms, but was otherwise uninjured, according to The Telegraph.
Police initially detained Osborn-Brooks on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, but later formally arrested him on suspicion of murder.
Norman Brennan, a former law enforcement officer who now advocates for victims, said that Osborn-Brooks had to be placed under arrest in order for police to investigate whether or not he acted in self-defense.
“The law says that a person can use reasonable force when defending himself, his family or property,” Brennan explained. “If the intruder is running away the threat has diminished, but if that person stays where they are, that’s an assault and if they are armed with a weapon then it would be regarded as aggravating circumstances.”
He said he did not believe a jury would convict someone who took a weapon from a burglar and subsequently injured him during an altercation.
Many of Osborn-Brooks’ neighbors supported the homeowner, and said he had done nothing wrong.
“The man has a right to defend his home,” said 58-year-old Clem Williams, who had lived in the area for 20 years. “They should let him go.”
“I feel terrible for the man that was burgled,” resident Adam Lake told Sky News. “He doesn’t deserve to be punished for defending himself.”