Stanton: Man died after ‘setting fire to his own home’

The scene of a fire

The scene of a fire - Credit: Archant

An 80-year-old man locked himself inside his home before setting fire to it after a dispute about electrical work and reports of anti-social behaviour, an inquest was told.

The body of Donald Andrews was found by firefighters when they were called to a bungalow in Drovers Rise, at Shepherds Grove Park, Stanton, in the early hours of June 10 this year.

Yesterday an inquest in Bury St Edmunds was told that emergency services who entered the property noticed a strong smell of petrol and that flammable materials had been scattered around the house. A gas cylinder was found in the centre of the front room, but had not ignited.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean said Mr Andrews’s wife had recently left her husband after a break down in the relationship. The inquest was told that she had explained that Mr Andrews had been in dispute with the owners of the site about electrical work that had recently been carried out on his home. Dr Dean said Mr Andrews had written to his neighbours and politicians about his concerns and also displayed posters in his home.

The inquest was told that Mr Andrews’s son, Michael, said his father had suffered anxiety over the electrics and had been the victim of anti-social behaviour. Dr Dean said that Mr Andrews had written to his son and discussed his will, but the letter was not considered to be a suicide note.

A report by fire investigator John Hubble said the incident was “deliberate ignition” and that it was not thought a third party was involved.

Dr Dean said although it appeared obvious that Mr Andrews had set the fire himself, the 80-year-old’s concern with the electrics meant it was possible it was to “prove a point” rather than to take his own life. He recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Andrews died as a consequence of a domestic fire he may have initiated.

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