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Accused set home alight
4:00pm Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
A MAN died after setting his home alight just a month before he was set to appear in court on sex assault charges, an inquest was told.
Barry Scott, 67, died after a fire he started ripped through his home in Canvey Road, Canvey, on March 19 last year.
An inquest, held at Southend Coroner’s Court on Friday, heard Mr Scott was due to appear at Southend Magistrates’ Court on April 18, having been charged with two counts of sexual assault.
It emerged he had been living apart from his wife, Lorraine Scott, in the weeks before his death and had been seen by two psychiatrists on the day he died.
Assistant coroner Yvonne Blake said Mr Scott had been assessed by two psychiatrists who disagreed on his state of mind.
She said: “Barry Scott was seen by consultant psychologist, Dr Lars Davidsson, following a referral on March 19.
“He was assessed as being detainable under the Mental Health Act, and had a second assessment with psychiatrist Dr Muhammad Shafi, who disagreed with Dr Davidsson and did not think he should be detained.”
Dr Davidsson, who provided a statement to the inquest, said Scott told him he thought messages were coming from his radio and said he showed clear psychotic symptoms of paranoia.
However, a statement was read out by Dr Shafi, which said Mr Scott believed he was a clairvoyant, communicating with people from the afterlife, which was in keeping with his religion and beliefs.
The statement said Mr Scott told Dr Shafi he wanted to clear his name and reconcile with his wife, and denied thoughts of self harm and suicide.
Mr Scott was allowed to return home and later that evening neighbours reported smoke and flames coming out of the back of the house.
Neighbours rushed in to try and save the man, but couldn’t because of the flames.
A subsequent report by fire investigation officer, Simon Dedman, indicated the presence of ignitable liquid, and concluded that the fire was started deliberately by Mr Scott.
Ms Blake added: “Neighbours tried to help and the fire services were called, but sadly Mr Scott was found deceased.”
The post-mortem revealed the cause of death was smoke inhalation and burns.
Ms Blake gave a narrative verdict into Mr Scott’s death.