THE inquest into the death of a vulnerable pensioner who was killed during a suspected burglary will not be reopened, a senior coroner has ruled.

Two men were cleared of murdering Albert Williams but jailed for a burglary at his home in Cedar Close, Southend, which took place a week before his death.

The frail 67-year-old was beaten and strangled and his body was then set on fire on August 8, 2015.

Earlier this year, the Echo told how issues with DNA samples and the character of prosecution witnesses had led to the acquittals in December.

We also told how friends remained concerned about why Mr Williams, a former gardener, had been released from hospital still suffering from injuries received during the first burglary.

Following our report, we wrote to Caroline Beasley-Murray, senior coroner for Essex, asking her to consider the issues raised.

She replied: “After the crown court proceedings were concluded there was no reason for the inquest to be reopened.

“The criminal proceedings had already gone thoroughly into the facts surrounding the death. Moreover, any resumed inquest after criminal proceedings have concluded must not reach a determination inconsistent with the outcome of the criminal proceedings. The situation has not changed and there is still no reason for the inquest to be reopened.

“It is my understanding that Mr Williams’ brother was consulted at the time, fully understood the situation and was not asking for the inquest, exceptionally, to be reopened.”

During the trial, jurors heard Mr Williams’ chest had been “flattened” as a result of 50 rib fractures, probably caused by repeated stamping.

Drug addicts Simon Smith, 40, of no fixed address, and Anthony Smith, 44, of Ceylon Road, Westcliff, were cleared of murder after a trial at the Inner London Crown Court in December.

The men, who are not related, were found guilty and jailed for eight-and-a-half years each for the first burglary.

Anthony Smith was cleared after medical evidence showed he had been found sleeping rough in a bin area in Southend, suffering from hypothermia shortly after the estimated time of the murder.

Traces of his DNA were found in the flat, but he claimed it was from an even earlier burglary.

No forensic evidence existed against Simon Smith and he was tried on the basis that he had confessed to other criminals who were associates of the original suspect in the case, who was himself cleared after providing police with the names of potential prosecution witnesses.