Residents on a South London street where Henry Vincent died after a failed burglary hope “things return to normal” after the first “quiet day” on Monday since a turf-war erupted over memorials left to him.
On Sunday night, after police had first directed Vincent’s family to place tributes marking his 38th birthday further down the road, Lewisham Council moved them to a community garden on an adjoining street.
Vincent died after trying to burgle the home of pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks.
A couple living close to Osborn-Brook’s boarded-up Hither Green home expressed relief to HuffPost UK that the shrine had finally been moved.
Another resident claimed reporting around the fight over the memorials had been “inflamed” by the media.
The only sign of the tributes on the fence on Monday were a few trampled rose buds at its base and a police car parked in Osborn-Brook’s driveway, where two young officers sat.
A few minutes walk away blue and red helium balloons were visible behind a second police car, where officers guarded the community gardens.
Police on Sunday stopped around 20 members of Vincent’s family placing tributes marking his 38th birthday on the fence opposite Osborn-Brooks’s home, directing them instead to a spot a short distance up the road.
The council then moved them to the community gardens.
Police told HuffPost on Monday that the council intervened after a decision was jointly made with the Met to “reduce the impact on the local community”.
The move came just days after police told local residents to “respect the wishes” of those who choose to pay their respects in public.
The Times quoted one woman laying tributes on Sunday as saying: “We’re here because it’s his birthday, we just want to lay flowers. We don’t want to cause any violence. We’re not all criminals. We don’t all do wrong.” When asked how Vincent should be remembered, another said: “We all loved him.”
Osborn-Brooks was initially arrested on suspicion of murder but was later released without charge.
He and his wife Maureen are reported to have been staying in a police safe house since then in a case that sparked a national debate over home intrusion laws and how public memorials are managed.