A SCHIZOPHRENIC who started a fire in a tower block that killed a mum-to-be has been locked up indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital.

Khabi Abrey, 30, died after a blaze started by her neighbour Lillo Troisi, 48, on the ninth floor of the Grampian flats on the Balmoral estate in Salisbury Avenue, Westcliff, on May 7 last year.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard Troisi, who lived on the eighth floor, started the fire as a “warning” over what he perceived as loud music.

Miss Abrey was 32 weeks pregnant and police found her unconscious in the communal hallway having fled from her flat.

She died two days later in hospital from the effects of smoke inhalation. Her unborn baby suffered a cardiac arrest.

Fire investigators found the remains of a plastic container with a small amount of petrol outside her flat and a partially damaged door mat against the front door.

Troisi was charged with murder, but prosecutors accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter and arson.

Two psychologists found that Troisi, a paranoid schizophrenic, was “acutely psychotic” at the time and had not been taking his medication for 18 months.

Christine Agnew QC, mitigating, said: “He wanted to make the couple move and because of his mental state at the time he simply didn’t foresee the consequences of his terrible actions.”

Miss Abrey’s husband Stuart and his mother had gone out to a reggae night at about 10.30pm, less than half an hour before Troisi started the blaze.

Mr Goodwin said Miss Abrey made a “fatal decision” to stay in because she was “feeling heavy and tired”.

At 10.55pm a neighbour heard Miss Abrey shouting “I need help” as dark smoke engulfed the flats.

When a firefighter discovered her lying on the landing she was still breathing, but she never regained consciousness. Jobless Troisi, who has a conviction for arson from 1983, was arrested the next day.

Justice Patricia McGowan said if not for Troisi’s mental health issues he would have been jailed for life.

She said he was a “danger to the public” for the “foreseeable future.” She said: “You clearly planned what you were going to do because you went to get a petrol can.

“Having set the fire in the way that you did you killed a young woman and her unborn child.

“You placed the lives of all the other occupants of the building in very great risk and you also endangered the lives of the firefighters and the emergency services who were there to help.”


Arsonist 'heard voices'

THE arsonist started a blaze on the ninth floor of a tower block after calmly filling up a can of petrol at a garage.

Speaking after Lillo Troisi was locked up, Det Insp Al Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said the case was “sad” and “tragic”.

He said: “He has stated that voices compelled him to set the fire as a warning to the occupants of the flat, who he had not previously met.

“He was identified as a suspect when his account in relation to his time of return to the building did not match with timings from the internal CCTV on the night of the fire.”

The Echo revealed in November how Troisi had been on the police wanted list for two months after threatening to harm workers at Barclays bank in Southend High Street in March. Police attempted to arrest Troisi in April, but he remained a free man.

Mr Pitcher said: “Clearly, as a result of his illness, he had not appreciated the severity or consequences of his actions at that time. There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Troisi knew or believed Mrs Abrey was pregnant, or that he wished for her to be killed.

“However, his appalling actions resulted in both her death and that of her unborn child, for which he must now be held accountable.”


‘I hope killer gets mental help he needs’- Husband

THE husband of a mum-to-be who died after an arson attack believes a “lack of care and love” led to her death.

Khabi Abrey’s husband Stuart sat in court as his wife’s killer was sentenced to detention under the Mental Health Act, which he said was the right decision.

A victim impact statement read to the court said Mr Abrey felt “gutted and lost and sick and drained” and was still angry with South Essex Homes for housing schizophrenic Troisi in the same block, despite complaints.

Prosecutor Michael Goodwin said the Abreys had never met the 48-year-old, but said the council “ignored” complaints about the “noise and smells” coming from his flat.

He said: “My whole future and my life has been taken away from me. I cry every day for my queen and princess.”

A spokesman for South Essex Homes told the Echo: “Although our records show no complaint was made by Khabi Abrey, her husband did contact us about the smell of cigarette smoke. Officers responded to this at the time and made contact with Mr Troisi.” He added that safety improvements have since been made.

Mr Abrey, a care professional who works with convicts struggling with mental health conditions and drug addictions, said the case was “preventable”.

He said: “I understand the mental health issues that Lillo Troisi is living with and therefore I am pleased to hear that he will receive the correct treatment.

“This case highlights a basic lack of love and care in the system, which must be addressed.

“The court case has given me a better understanding of the events that took place and the circumstances.

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