A man has died from serious burns while a woman remains critical and fighting for her life in a specialist burns unit after a fire yesterday.

Witnesses reported the man, in his 50s, went to a house in Boyce Green, Benfleet yesterday morning armed with a machete.

Neighbours claimed he poured petrol on himself and the woman before igniting the fuel.

He was arrested for attempted murder before they were both flown to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the attempted murder.

Police have said they received reports at 10.50am that a man and woman had suffered serious burns following a disturbance within the garden of a property. 

A post mortem is due to be carried out to establish the cause of his death. 

Senior Investigating officer DCI Daniel Stoten, of Kent and Essex’s Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Our investigation has progressed and after talking to witnesses and making enquiries at the scene, we believe this was a deliberate act.

“Sadly, a man that we wanted to talk about this incident has died from his injuries. 

“We are confident that we are not looking for anyone else connection with this incident but are still trying to establish what happened.

"If you were in the area between 6am and 11am and have information, call 101 quoting incident 311 of 13/03 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”