Dean Davis, a jeweller, pulled out a sheath knife after having CS gas squirted in his face as he stepped through the door of the bungalow on Saturday night. In the ensuing struggle, the masked intruder, Patrick Leonard Halcrow, was stabbed in the chest, and died before reaching hospital.
The incident happened while Mr Davis, 33, was checking his parents' home in Wickford, Essex, while they were away.
A statement issued yesterday by Mr Davis's solicitor, Bruce Simpson, said: 'While he regrets the death of Mr Halcrow, he believes he is fortunate to be alive. He learned from the police that Mr Halcrow was armed with a cosh, a CS gas spray canister, an 18in cold chisel and a Commando knife. He acted the way he did to preserve his own life, which he believed to be threatened by the burglar.'
Patrick Halcrow lived with his second wife and four children in Aveley, Essex. He was 44 and had a 20-year record of thefts, deception and burglary. It is understood that Mr Davis had carried the sheath knife since an apparent attempted break-in at his shop in The Broadway, Wickford, earlier in the year.
Although he was released without charge initially, Essex Police said this did not mean he would not face prosecution.
Det Supt Graham Furnival told a press conference that possession of the knife for self- defence was not an offence on private property, which was where the killing had happened.
'At the moment, we believe Mr Davis was acting in self-defence and the information to hand suggests we should not prefer charges.'
He added: 'We did find a two-way radio at the scene which indicates there was a second person at the scene or near by. Mr Davis heard a second man speaking after the incident. I appeal to this person to come forward.'