Retired police detective inspector died in Suffolk car fire, inquest hears

The inquest into the death was held at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Edwin Williams died in a car fire, the inquest heard - Credit: Archant

A retired Met Police detective inspector living in Suffolk - who was locked in a dispute with neighbours - died in a car fire, an inquest heard.

Firefighters who arrived in the village of Cavendish in Suffolk on March 6 described a car "fully involved in fire", with the blaze starting to spread to two nearby cars.

Mark Hill, watch manager of Clare Fire Station, said in a statement that a man at the scene told him: "That's my neighbour's car", and suggested there was an occupant.

The fire was extinguished and it was identified that a body was in the driver's seat of the vehicle, whose registered keeper was 74-year-old Edwin Williams.

The body was formally identified as Mr Williams by dental records.

Pc Emma Stacey said a friend who had been staying with Mr Williams in the days before his death said that he was involved in an "ongoing neighbour dispute which had been going on for 11 years and was due to be heard in court".

Mr Williams had received a letter from solicitors stating he could have four further weeks to prepare for the trial but not the eight weeks he had sought, the friend said.

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Suffolk's senior coroner, Nigel Parsley, said the dispute concerned water ingress, guttering and roofing.

He said that Mr Williams had started the legal proceedings with his previous neighbours and then with the new owners of the house.

Mr Williams's wife Jean Williams, who was separated from him, said she thought that leaving the police force had a "considerable effect on Ed".

"I believe he found it quite hard to adjust to the outside world," she said.

She said he had a distinguished career, working on high profile cases before retiring from the Met in 1995 after 30 years of service, then working as a teacher.

His GP notes said he had a history of depression.

Coroner Mr Parsley, recording that Mr Williams died by suicide, said that fire investigation officers "believe the most likely cause of the fire was it was started deliberately from inside the vehicle".

The fire service report said there was no indication Mr Williams had been trapped.

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