Essex

Westcliff tower block fire: Man detained for killing pregnant woman

Khabi Abrey Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Khabi Abrey was 32 weeks pregnant when she died

A man who killed a pregnant woman and her unborn baby by starting a fire in a tower block has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Lillo Troisi, 48, admitted manslaughter and arson after Khabi Abrey, 30, and her baby were found at a flat in Westcliff-on-Sea, in Essex, on 7 May 2016. They died two days later.

Troisi, who has paranoid schizophrenia, had not taken medication for 18 months.

He was acutely psychotic at the time, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

The court was also told he had a history of drug taking and drug abuse.

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Troisi, who lived on the eighth floor of the Balmoral Road tower block, had deliberately started the fire with a can of petrol in the hallway outside Mrs Abrey's ninth-floor flat.

She was unconscious when emergency services found her.

Image copyright ESSEX POLICE/BBC
Image caption Mrs Abrey died after the fire was lit outside her ninth-floor flat

Mrs Abrey, who was eight months pregnant, died in hospital from complications after breathing in fumes, post-mortem tests showed.

Her baby died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Image caption The fire ripped through the ninth floor of the Grampian Flats in Westcliff-on-Sea

Troisi had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and arson, but denied charges of murder and child destruction at an earlier hearing in November.

Speaking after Troisi was detained, Mrs Abrey's husband, Stuart, said: "The whole case has been really sad in that what happened was so preventable.

"I have been left wondering how someone with such dangerous tendencies could end up being anyone's neighbour without being cared for."

The judge's decision to detain Troisi under the Mental Health Act rather than jailing him, was "the right one", Mr Abrey added.

"I am pleased to hear that he will receive the correct treatment."

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