Uncle and cousin of Hither Green burglar jailed over roof repair con

Uncle and cousin of career criminal stabbed to death in botched Hither Green burglary are jailed for swindling a sick homeowner out of £6,000 after falsely claiming his loft was infested with maggots and rats

  • Criminal’s death this month sparked debate of the rights of burgled homeowners
  • Now his uncle and cousin have been jailed for conning a man out of £6,000
  • They told him his roof was rotten before charging him for unnecessary ‘work’

The uncle and cousin of burglar Henry Vincent (pictured) have been jailed for the criminal family’s latest scam

The uncle and cousin of career criminal who died after struggling with a pensioner have been jailed for swindling a homeowner out of thousands in cash.

David Vincent Snr, 50, and his 26-year-old son, also called David, are relatives of Henry Vincent, the burglar who died following a break in in Hither Green earlier this month.

The pair targeted 60-year-old Robert Etheridge and convinced him he needed urgent building work on his house in Dartford, Kent.

They, together with another man, conned their victim, who was off work sick at the time, out of £6,000 after falsely telling him his fascia boards were rotten and his loft was infested with rodents, bird nests and maggots.

They also showed him three dead rats as part of their trickery, and tried to extort as much as £13,000 from him . 

All three wore jackets emblazoned with a company logo ‘Ideal Home Improvement’ and used a van bearing the same name as well as Vincent Snr’s mobile phone number.

The two conmen are relatives of Henry Vincent, who died after breaking into 78-year-old Richard Osborn-Brooks’s home in Hither Green earlier this month

A court heard they even had the gall to warn Mr Etheridge not to tell anyone ‘or the newspapers would find out’. 

But their deceit was discovered when a concerned Mr Etheridge contacted his insurance company and they alerted police.

A genuine builder who later inspected their ‘work’ concluded it was ‘valueless, non-urgent and bodged’, Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard.

There were also no infestations.

The father and son, from St Mary Cray, near Orpington in Kent, together with 36-year-old John Baker, from Eltham, south-east London, admitted fraud. 

Vincent Snr, who has a previous conviction for a similar cowboy builder scam, was jailed for 21 months. 

Father-of-three Vincent Jnr was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. Baker, a father of two, was also jailed for 18 months.

Henry Vincent’s death – which had led to Mr Osborn-Brooks and his wife being advised to stay away from their home amid fears of recrimination – sparked a national debate on the rights of homeowners to defend themselves from intruders

They appeared in court three weeks after 37-year-old Henry Vincent died after breaking into the home of pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, and his wife, Maureen, 76, in Hither Green, south east London, on April 4.

Mr Osborn-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without charge.

Vincent’s funeral is due to be held next week. However, no mention of their relative’s death was made during the sentencing hearing.

Investigating Officer Detective Constable Iain Joyce said today: ‘All three targeted the victim again and again, each time coming up with even more elaborate excuses to convince the victim to hand over more cash. They abused his trust and showed no regard for the impact of their actions. 

‘Our officers worked alongside Trading Standards to bring all three men to justice and ensure they couldn’t defraud anyone further in such a malicious way. 

‘If you suspect rogue traders are operating in your area, or you believe a neighbour or someone on your street is a victim of rogue trading, please call us on 101, of if the suspects are still at the scene call 999.’ 

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