LESSONS must be learned after a man who was on bail for terrorising his ex-wife carried out a fatal fire attack on his mother-in-law, the police watchdog has found.

Kieren Lynch, 50, set alight 72-year-old Jennifer Cronin in her garden in Boyce Green, Benfleet, on March 13 last year. He also doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire. They died from the injuries.

Police had tried to arrest Lynch on the previous day but could not locate him.

A report published by Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) identified a “lack of clarity” regarding breaches of domestic abuse offences meant Lynch was not arrested after contacting his ex-wife Susan Lynch and her daughter Molly which he was prohibited from doing.

During the IOPC probe, eight officers were served with misconduct notices for concerns over the completion of records on the database of crimes and incidents and lack of action in regards to arresting Lynch. Lynch was subject to bail conditions after being charged with criminal damage in January 2018 at Susan Lynch’s home.

Mrs Lynch and her daughter reported multiple breaches of these conditions after Kieren Lynch harassed them with texts and phone calls.

During the investigation, IOPC investigators obtained call recordings, database records, witness statements and other material, which included Essex Police policies and procedures.

A spokesman for the watchdog said: “The evidence obtained during the investigation indicated that, while there was a lack of clarity regarding breaches of domestic abuse offences - in particular the responsibility for arrest between the local policing teams and specialist domestic abuse team, there was also a lack of positive action from officers in both teams.”

Officers made one attempt to arrest Lynch, on March 12 but were unable to locate him.

The IOPC concluded that none of the officers had a case to answer for misconduct but advised seven officers would benefit from management action in relation to correct record keeping and processing of information.

Essex Police agreed with the conclusion and also said another officer would receive management action in relation to suspect management and arrest enquiries. Force bosses also say they are committed to reviewing working practices, guidance and training around the keeping of records, as well as how the arrest of a person on bail is progressed.

In January, an inquest jury found that Mrs Cronin was killed unlawfully by Kieren Lynch.