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Abusive husband guilty of murdering estranged wife in arson attack

Abusive husband guilty of murdering estranged wife in arson attack
Damion Simmons, 45, began campaign of abuse against Denise Keane-Simmons, 36, after their relationship ended

An abusive husband who killed his estranged wife in a house fire has been found guilty of her murder.

Damion Simmons, 45, doused Denise Keane-Simmons, 36, in petrol and set fire to her home in Harlesden, nordvest i London, in April last year.

The pair had been married since 2019 but their relationship broke down and Simmons began a campaign of abuse and torment against his former partner in the months leading up to her death.

A jury at the Old Bailey heard how in the hours before her death, Simmons posted a naked picture of Ms Keane-Simmons on Instagram.

She reported the image to police and officers went to her address shortly after midnight on 16 April to take a statement from her.

They stayed for about an hour, leaving Ms Keane-Simmons in the care of a friend who was staying at the property.

During this time, Simmons was captured on CCTV buying a can of petrol from a fuel station in Hornsey Rise before boarding a bus to Harlesden, where he hid near Ms Keane-Simmons’ property.

Another camera caught him pouring petrol through the letterbox into the house shortly after 2am before he used a panel of wood to smash a glass window and climbed inside the property.

A short time later the fire started and began tearing through the house, sa politiet.

Firefighters found Ms Keane-Simmons suffering serious injuries in an upstairs bedroom.

Damion Simmons has been convicted of murdering his estranged wife Denise Keane-Simmons by dousing her in petrol and setting fire to her home in Harlesden, nordvest i London

She was taken to hospital but was later pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as severe burns and smoke inhalation – and further analysis suggested Simons had poured petrol over her body.

Ms Keane-Simmons’ friend, a woman aged in her 60s, had been sleeping inside the property but managed to jump to safety from a bedroom window. Fortunately, she did not suffer any serious injuries.

Simmons was found lying in the garden beneath a bathroom window. He is also thought to have jumped from the property.

He was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with minor burn injuries before being taken into custody.

Simmons, of no fixed address, told officers and various doctors he had only intended to harm himself when he started the fire.

derimot, he was convicted of murder and arson with intent to endanger life at the Old Bailey on 31 august.

He will be sentenced at the same court on 22 september.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, fra Metropolitan Police, sa: “My thoughts remain with Denise’s family and friends and I hope today’s outcome can offer them some degree of comfort, knowing that her killer has been brought to justice. Denise was clearly loved by all, and this tragic incident has affected many people far and wide.

“The actions of Damion Simmons that night were calculated, and the jury have come to the conclusion that he set out that night, not to kill himself as he claimed, but to kill Denise.

“His actions were both selfish and reckless. He cruelly took away Denise’s future and could have easily caused serious harm to the other woman inside the property and adjoining households.

“This type of behaviour unfortunately epitomises extreme domestic violence and I would urge anyone who feels they may be in such a relationship to contact the police or our partners who will be able to take positive action and provide the necessary support and advice.”

The police force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in relation to police contact with the victim prior to her death.