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Homeless man doused in barbecue fluid and burned to death in Tunbridge Wells

Giles Metcalfe dies from burns and smoke inhalation 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 19 September 2017 18:16 BST
Giles Metcalfe had sent a text to his wife saying 'Settling down for the night. It’s all good'
Giles Metcalfe had sent a text to his wife saying 'Settling down for the night. It’s all good' (Kent Police)

A homeless man died after he was doused in barbecue lighting fluid and set alight, a court heard.

Giles Metcalfe, 43, had separated from his wife and was sleeping rough in a Tunbridge Wells car park Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Dean Malcolm Lewis, 34, and James Marshall-Gunn, 30, have been charged with his murder.

On the night of his death on 7 March, the court heard that he sent a text to his wife at around 10:30pm, which said: “Settling down for the night. It’s all good xx.”

His body was found hours later when an alarm caused Kent Fire and Rescue service to attend the scene. His corpse was badly burned.

His charred sleeping bag, an open bottle of barbecue lighting fluid and two lighters were found nearby.

The court heard he died from his burns and smoke inhalation.

CCTV footage shows Mr Marshall-Gunn and Mr Lewis buying whiskey from a nearby Sainsbury’s with Mr Metcalfe on the night he died.

They were later seen together in the car park, and were seen on camera leaving at 1:20am, Kent Online reports.

They were then seen returning to the car park at 2:07am and left again six minutes later. The prosecution alleged this is when they set Mr Metcalfe on fire.

“We submit on the evidence for your consideration that you can draw a proper and safe inference that together they went in to kill Mr Metcalfe by fire." Philip Bennetts QC told the court, according to Kent Online. "What other explanation can there be? In, fire, out,”

Earlier in the evening two women had joined the group; Mr Lewis’ girlfriend Vivien Martin and Michelle Sharp.

The court heard that Mr Lewis was said to not be happy that when Ms Martin was invited to join Mr Metcalfe in his sleeping bag.

Mr Lewis alleged Mr Metcalfe had said a lot of “weird stuff” that evening and “poured lighter fluid all over himself”.

A post-mortem found Mr Metcalfe’s blood alcohol level was over three times the drink-drive limit, according to the BBC.

Pathologist Olaf Biedrzychi said: “It seems reasonable to suggest the deceased may have been asleep and relatively oblivious to the presence of anyone around him.”

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