Benfleet deaths: 'Police didn't listen' to death threats

Jennifer Cronin Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Jennifer Cronin was attacked by Kieren Lynch at her home in Benfleet, Essex

The wife of a man who set fire to his mother-in-law said "police hadn't listened to her" in the run up to the attack, an inquest heard.

Kieren Lynch, 50, set fire to Jennifer Cronin, 72, and himself in her Essex garden on 13 March 2018.

Her friend Linda McGowan told Essex Coroner's Court his estranged wife Susan Lynch said "she had known something like this would happen".

The inquest is investigating both Mr Lynch and Mrs Cronin's deaths.

Mrs McGowan said: "Susan said the police hadn't listened to her when there were problems before."

She had been playing golf on the fairway which was next to Mrs Cronin's garden when she heard screaming and barking.

Mrs McGowan said: "I saw a figure behind her in a dark and hooded top and I said to my friend, 'oh my god someone is attacking Jenny'.

"The person had a petrol can in his hand and he was dousing her with petrol.

"I was running towards the garden when the back of her went up in flames."

Image caption Kieren Lynch was seen running into the garden with a knife and petrol can, an inquest heard

The court heard the man then turned towards her and poured a bucket of petrol over himself, which ignited.

The inquest was played footage from Mrs Lynch's 999 call in which she can be heard screaming the her husband had set her mum on fire.

The jury was also shown footage of her first police interview in which she said her mother had told her Mr Lynch had been hiding in her shed.

Assistant coroner Tina Harrington told the inquest that despite reports of threats to kill made by Mr Lynch during his initial arrest over a domestic incident on 11 January 2018 no social care referral had been made and a firearms search was only carried out at Mr Lynch's address on 7 March.

The inquest, which is expected to last five days, continues.

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