Beyond belief

Forgive me if I have got this wrong and relied too heavily on media reporting but it seems a 78-year old pensioner, Richard Osborn-Brooks, found his home invaded by two thugs both more than half his age and, I would guess, twice his strength who were burglars.  One of them had apparently armed himself with a screwdriver and forced the 78-year old at screwdriver point to the kitchen while the other thug went upstairs in search of loot.

Much to the surprise of the armed thug, I would suspect, Richard Osborn-Brooks took on the villain and apparently disarmed him.  In whatever struggle took place, it seems the armed thug received a wound to the upper body which subsequently proved fatal.  The second thug, a true mate of the armed one, fled the scene.

On arrival at the scene of an attempted armed robbery, the police apparently arrested Richard Osborn-Brooks upon suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) and subsequently changed the potential charge to murder.

In my view, Mr Richard Osborn-Brooks deserves a medal and not arrest.  He found two thugs in his own home, uninvited and apparently intending burglary.  One of them was armed with a lethal weapon.  Mr Osborn-Brooks at the age of 78 took on the armed robber and in the course of a struggle, the robber suffered a fatal wound.  In my view he got precisely what he deserved and risked when he decided to enter a private home with apparent intent to steal and to threaten.

Mr Osborn-Brooks has suffered five traumatic incidents in rapid succession:

  • finding his home invaded by burglars, one of them armed;
  • being manhandled by the armed robber and forced to go to his kitchen while the other villain went upstairs and Mrs Osborn-Brooks was apparently also in the house;
  • managing to disarm the armed robber and finding him wounded as a result, one must assume, of Mr Osborn-Brooks attempts to free himself;
  • suffering arrest by the police under suspicion of serious  crimes and
  • being release on bail, surely an indignity too far?

There is something wrong with our police and criminal law if a householder, finding armed robbers in his home, cannot take all reasonable action to frustrate their violent intentions.  The thug with the screwdriver is, in my view, entirely responsible for his own death.  Mr Osborn-Brooks deserves immediate and total freedom and a medal for his public spirited defence of his wife, home and liberty and for his sheer courage in taking on an armed thug half his age.

We have a serious problem in this country where rules have completely superseded common sense.  I have heard police excuses that arrest of Mr Osborn-Brooks was a necessary step in investigating the matter.  Yet again, what we have is police ticking the necessary boxes without a vestige of thought about the reality of this situation and the common sense solution.  It isn’t just the police although I think there are serious questions about the way in which they set their priorities.  The whole of our establishment seems to have become rules-dominated, risk averse and wholly unable to apply a little bit of gut instinct and common sense to a situation.

I hope Mr Osborn-Brooks is soon exonerated, able to enjoy life in his home again and I wait to see him in the next Honours List for bravery and services to criminal  justice.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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7 Responses to Beyond belief

  1. Keith Strangwood says:

    Well said Keith.

  2. Simon Davies says:

    Yet again more straight forward common sense from you Keith, well said.

  3. Don Girthington says:


    I was once accosted in the comfort of my own home by some vagabonds. Long story short, the food in jail is a far cry from mothers Sunday roasts.

    Lesson learnt. I seldom bother to lock my front door now. If I am unable to protect myself, what’s the point?


  4. Rural Voter says:

    May we have a comment on the upcoming District elections, Mr KRM? I draw your attention to the Pete Handley episode in West Oxfordshire…

    • You will have to explain the “Pete Handley episode” to we.

      • Rural Voter says:

        Currently WODC councillor for Carterton NW, OCC councillor for Carterton SW. Not standing again for his current Carterton ward in May, but instead standing against James Mills in Clanfield & Bampton as an Independent. One would assume he will be expelled from the Conservatives for standing against a Conservative candidate. But that doesn’t do much for the Conservative majority on OCC…

      • Pete Handley was a County Councillor while I was Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and of the Conservative Group on it. He was a complete nightmare. This does not surprise me in the least. I think expulsion from the Party would be automatic in these circumstances. He showed few of the characteristics of a Conservative during my time so will not be much of a loss. I would expect West Oxfordshire District Council to remain a good Conservative-controlled council.

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