Car fire suicide after text message row

A 39-YEAR-old man burned himself to death in a car following an argument with his fiance about a text message from another woman, an inquest heard.The shocked family of James Gore, from Woodbridge, had initially believed his tragic death was an accident.

A 39-YEAR-old man burned himself to death in a car following an argument with his fiance about a text message from another woman, an inquest heard.

The shocked family of James Gore, from Woodbridge, had initially believed his tragic death was an accident.

But it emerged that he had chosen to set himself alight in a horrifying suicide bid. It followed a cryptic warning that he was going to "warm" his car.

Mr Gore's severely-burned body was discovered by firefighters called to the scene by residents who reported a car fire at a residential garage block in Breakspear, Shephall, Hertfordshire.


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Inside the car, firefighters found a glass drinks bottle, a box of matches and a strong smell of petrol.

The inquest heard that Mr Gore had been drinking heavily following an argument with his fiancÈe, Jackie Hills.

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It began with a misunderstanding about a text message on his phone from another woman. A row broke out when Mr Gore refused to let his fiance see the message, which she eventually managed to read.

"I threw the phone at him and asked him to leave," recalled Miss Hills, who said their relationship was "pretty good" on the whole, but had its ups and downs. The couple had become engaged in May last year, just three months after first meeting.

Following the dispute, Miss Hills went to see her friend Samantha Munford, who told the inquest, in Hatfield last Thursday, that James rang frequently that evening.

"He said he was sorry, but Jackie was angry. He said he would be lost without her. He definitely seemed quite drunk," Ms Munford said.

Mr Gore went to Ms Munford's house and handed over a letter for Miss Hills, three £20 notes and his bank card. The inquest heard no explanation for this.

"I told him to leave it and let her cool down, and to come and get me in the morning and we would go and see her," said Ms Munford.

Mr Gore, who was of no fixed abode but who previously lived in Woodbridge, responded by saying he "would be warming his car tonight".

At around 5am on March 22, the alarm was raised by a nearby resident who was woken by an "unusual noise" and saw a glow outside her window. Six further calls were received.

Firefighter Paul Bordoni, a divisional officer, said: "It was a severe fire, but it wasn't long burning and was out within a few minutes.

"When we got there the smell of petrol wasn't apparent. We erected a white tent over the car to preserve the scene, and when it became confined you could smell petrol."

Mr Gore's death was said to have been swift. A post-mortem found no signs of natural disease or third party involvement, though police initially treated the death as suspicious.

For a time the victim's family believed he had fallen asleep in his car and that his death was a tragic accident.

They said he sometimes slept in his car or in temporary lodgings because he travelled for his work as a window fitter.

But coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of suicide. He said that for a depressed or upset person, alcohol can make "things seem a lot worse".

He said: "He killed himself while his mind was disturbed by what had happened and also by the amount of alcohol."

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