Tensions run high as Henry Vincent's family prepare for his funeral

Thousands have gathered for the 37-year-old man who was killed while attempting to break into a house in Hither Green.

                            Tensions run high as Henry Vincent's family prepare for his funeral
(Source: Getty Images)

Nearly 2,000 people gathered in London Thursday for the lavish funeral of 37-year-old Henry Vincent who was killed during an attempted robbery in Hither Green.

Vincent, who was of Romani origin, died after a struggle with Richard Osborn-Brooks after breaking into the latter’s home on April 4. Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested for murder but was released without being charged after massive public backlash.

The funeral was conducted at St Mary’s Church in St Mary Cray with significant police presence. The police were forced to move reporters from the scene due to pressure from angry mourners, many of whom came armed with eggs. A can of coke was reportedly thrown at a photographer while a woman shouted: “Leave us alone, we’re burying our child.”

The Guardian reports that Vincent’s coffin was carried along by a long procession of cars, limousines and a flatbed truck carrying flowers. The funeral cortege was decorated with flowers, ribbons and various ornaments. A man was reportedly seen holding a picture of Vincent aloft while shouting “The King is dead”.

Pubs in the Orpington area were reportedly closed in preparation of the event. Flowers were tied to lamp-posts around the outside of the churchyard with red ribbons.

Tensions were high in Hither Green after a shrine was erected opposite the house in which the murder took place with tributes from friends and family. Residents reportedly desecrated the shrine multiple times. Some of Osborn-Brooks’ neighbors were worried that the funeral procession would pass through the neighborhood.

“This is a tragedy for the family who have lost a loved one. It is also a tragedy for the homeowner forced to take the action he did,” Deputy Commissioner Sir Craig Mackey told the Independent.

One man attempted to blockade the road all on his own by parking his car at the end of South Park Crescent despite the police assuring residents that the mourners would be taking a different route.

The residents were finally placated when the Metropolitan police sent a van with a handful of officers inside to wait near the entrance of the road for “community reassurance”.