The community has rallied around a pensioner who killed a burglar in his home after police released him without charge.

Richard Osborn-Brooks was in his Hither Green home on South Park Crescent after midnight with his unwell wife on April 4 when two men attempted to raid his home.

In the ensuing struggle, the 78-year-old stabbed and killed Henry Vincent, 37, while second suspect Billy Jeeves is still at large.

Police arrested the pensioner on suspicion of murder but a few days later was released without charge and under no further investigation.

In the days immediately after his arrest, the community rallied behind the “hero”, launching petitions for no charges to be pressed and holding fundraisers to help pay for any legal fees.

One such fundraiser was started by Gemma Sargeant from the nearby Downham, which has already raised more than £8,000 to give to Mr Osborn-Brooks.

She said: “He had the courage to fight back and protect himself and his disabled wife against two intruders who broke into his home.

“He can use this money to help secure his home so they can feel safe and maybe to treat himself and his wife to something nice so they know the community is behind them.

Mr Osborn-Brooks and his wife have had to move to a secure location with police protection as investigators and police continue inspecting his home, with a temporary shrine to the dead Henry Vincent removed shortly after it was erected.

More than 500 people donating to the fundraiser with many people calling the pensioner a “hero” for what he did.

Danny Dorey wrote: “Good decision by the Met. Well done everyone for the mass support he got.”

Teresa Sheehy Cosgrove wrote: “Can you imagine what this old fella is going through now? He is a hero yes I agree, but I should imagine that he is going through hell knowing he has killed someone. He will need all the support he can get.”

Mr Osborn-Brooks cannot return home yet, but Gemma already has managed to make contact with the police to get those funds to him so he can treat his wife and keep himself safe.

She said: “I'm now in touch with an investigating officer and am working with them and Go Fund Me to find a secure way to get the funds to Mr Osborn-Brooks as understandably he needs his privacy right now.”