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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Tragic Gravesend man Brian Stimpson set himself on fire in Thong Lane field before asking neighbours to ring emergency services, inquest told

23 January 2014
by Lizzie Massey

A man doused himself in petrol and set himself alight in a Gravesend field – before asking shocked residents to phone 999, an inquest heard.

Brian Stimpson died after suffering 80% burns when he turned himself into a human fireball in horrific scenes off Thong Lane.

The 40-year-old, of St Patrick's Gardens, died from his terrible injuries in hospital three days later, a coroner was told.

Tragic Brian Stimpson set himself alight in a field off Thong Lane in Gravesend. Picture Google Street View

Tragic Brian Stimpson set himself alight in a field off Thong Lane in Gravesend. Picture: Google Street View

Giving evidence at an inquest at Gravesend's Old Town Hall, DS Sam Hudson-Gool, from Kent Police, said: "Brian went to a field, doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire.

"He went to residents' houses nearby, told them he had set himself alight and asked them to call 999.

"He was taken to hospital by ambulance staff and was found to have 80% burns.

"Medical opinion was that it was an unrecoverable injury."

"He went to residents' houses nearby, told them he had set himself alight and asked them to call 999..." - DS Sam Hudson-Gool

He added Mr Stimpson, who was single and unemployed, suffered from depression and struggled with his 22st weight.

Mr Hudson-Gool revealed he made two other suicide attempts in the months leading up to his death at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after setting himself on fire on July 21 last year.

In May, he overdosed on paracetamol before walking into the River Medway the following month when he had to be rescued by the coastguard and fire crews.

The inquest also heard Mr Stimpson was claiming benefits, which had been reduced last year.

Mr Hudson-Gool added: "He was worried and felt he was being forced back into work."

Born in Chatham, Mr Stimpson was said to be nervous around people he did not know and – although undiagnosed – the inquest heard there was a strong possibility he was autistic.

The inquest was heard at Old Town Hall in Gravesend

The inquest was heard at Old Town Hall in Gravesend

Coroner Roger Hatch was told there was evidence of online searches on suicide and Mr Stimpson left two suicide notes – to his parents and sister – that talked about his reasons for taking his own life and finding peace.

The cause of death was given as massive burns.

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Roger Hatch said: "Given the evidence, history and previous attempts, I'm left with no alternative other than to record that Brian Stimpson took his own life."

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