A MAN cleared of any wrongdoing after stabbing to death an intruder at his home says he has endured a “living nightmare” and still suffers flashbacks from the incident.
Vincent Cooke, 39, was told yesterday he would not face any charges over the fatal stabbing of Raymond Jacob at his detached house in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was satisfied that the courier boss acted in self-defence as he was marched upstairs at knifepoint in the course of a burglary.
Mr Cooke was arrested on suspicion of murder and later released on bail pending further inquiries into the incident in the early evening of September 17.
Speaking of his ordeal, he said: “I would like to offer my utmost thanks for all the support the public and media have offered me and my family during this terrible event.
“I am most relieved that the CPS have decided not to charge me with any offence.
“It has been a living nightmare for me and I’m still suffering flashbacks of the incident.
“I would like in due course to be able to thank everyone personally, however as there is a person awaiting a court hearing concerning this matter I have been advised not to make any further comments at this time.
“I hope to now be able to get on with my life but will never forget the day that I had to fight for my life.”
Mr Cooke was initially at home alone at his property in Midland Road, Bramhall, at about 7.50pm but his wife, Karen, and their 12-year-old son returned during the melee. They escaped unharmed.
Police and paramedics gave first aid to Mr Jacob, 37, but he died shortly afterwards.
The family of known offender Mr Jacob later said they had been “distressed” at the events and supported the police inquiry to find out what happened.
A 33-year-old man from Heald Green, Stockport, is in custody charged with aggravated burglary in connection with the incident and is next due to appear in court in December.
Announcing his decision on Mr Cooke, Nafir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the North West area, said: “I am not able to go into great detail about the circumstances of the incident as there is an ongoing prosecution against a second man for burglary, but the evidence shows that Mr Cooke had been taken upstairs at knifepoint, and that during a struggle with Raymond Jacob, Mr Cooke stabbed him in self defence.
“At the time he was in fear for his own safety and the safety of his wife and son, who arrived at the house as the incident was happening.
“It is clear to me that Mr Cooke did what he honestly and instinctively believed was necessary on that day to protect himself, his home and his family from intruders.”
It is the third time in recent months in Greater Manchester alone that self-defence has been deemed acceptable after a suspected intruder has been killed.
In July, the CPS announced no action would be taken against Peter Flanagan, 59, who stabbed to death suspected burglar John Leonard Bennell, 27.
Prosecutors ruled he used “reasonable force”.
Mr Flanagan was arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr Bennell after his home in Ethel Avenue, Salford, was broken into by four masked men in June.
Last month, the CPS also decided no charges should be brought against a pensioner held on suspicion of murder.
Shopkeeper Cecil Coley, 72, was arrested after an incident at his store in Old Trafford in July.
Gary Mullings, 30, suffered fatal wounds during a frantic struggle at the Shrewsbury Street shop.
Chief Superintendent Rebekah Sutcliffe, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “When presented with the circumstances of that evening the correct decision was to make the arrests.
“It was crucial that we conducted a thorough and open-minded investigation into the events.
“I am satisfied that we provided the full facts of the case to the CPS to enable them to make an appropriate decision.”