Paper fire caused 'notoriously untidy' barrister's death


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Ian Paton was found unconscious by firefighters in his flat in Luna House, Bermondsey

A “notoriously untidy” criminal barrister died after stacks of paper caught fire in his cluttered London home, an inquest has heard.

Ian Paton, 66, was found unconscious in the bedroom of his flat in Luna House, Bermondsey, on 20 December 2016.

Investigators told Southwark Coroner’s Court the fire had begun “in or around the hob” and had spread across surfaces which were “full of stuff”.

The coroner recorded the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning.

‘Tragic death’

In a statement, Mr Paton’s ex-wife Elizabeth described the 66-year-old as “notoriously untidy” and “by far the most untidy man most people ever met.”

Mrs Paton said: “His flat was too much of a mess to be conducive to work in.”

She described his death as “a terrible tragedy… made even more unbearable by the fact we as a family were on the brink of a new future together”.

“Ian’s tragic death… has robbed him of so much anticipated and planned happiness,” she said, adding that it had left her and their daughter “utterly bereft”.

London Fire Brigade investigator Barry Kent told the inquest burn patterns in the “cluttered” flat suggested the blaze spread from the hob over surrounding paper.

“The paper then dropped down into a file and then the fire spread to the chair and the other stuff on the floor,” he said.

Assistant Coroner Shanta Deonarine said Mr Paton’s death was “the consequence of an unlikely event” and concluded his death was “as a result of an accident”.



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