A MAN who died after pouring fuel on himself and his former mother-in-law before igniting it was due in court for criminal damage, the Echo can reveal.

Kieren Lynch, 50, of Tewkes Road, Canvey, had been charged with destruction of plant pots and a sign belonging to his ex-wife Susan Lynch at an address on Canvey on January 11.

He had appeared at Southend magistrates court where he had denied the allegation on January 29 and was due to stand trial on March 22.

The case has now been discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service after Mr Lynch died in a horrific fire attack at a home in Boyce Green, Benfleet, on March 13.

Witnesses told the Echo that Mr Lynch was armed with a machete when he stormed the home of his former mother-in-law.

It is believed he poured fuel on himself and the woman, 72-year-old Jenny Cronin, before igniting it, causing them both to be engulfed in flames.

Mr Lynch died of his injuries later that day after being airlifted to a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford.

Before his death, at 8.30pm that night,Lynch was arrested by police for attempted murder.

Mrs Cronin, who lives alone, was also flown to the same hospital and also sadly died.

During the legal proceedings against him, Mr Lynch was bailed on the condition he would not contact any witnesses in the case including Susan Lynch or to enter Labworth Road, Canvey.

Essex Police were contacted for comment to determine whether he breached these bail conditions either before or on March 13 when he carried out his attack, which they have confirmed they believe was deliberate.

The force did not immediately respond to the Echo’s enquiry.

Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) have since confirmed they are investigating Essex Police’s contact with Mr Lynch prior to this incident.

The IOPC has said the investigation is in its early stages and the “terms of reference” have yet to be set.

A previous version of this story said that Mrs Cronin was still critical. We have since been informed by Essex Police that sadly she has died.

An update can be found here