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Appeal over mystery death of Haringey man found on fire in street

PUBLISHED: 14:51 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:15 20 September 2017

Mary Caffery has appealed for information over the death of her brother John Nolan (right) who was found on fire in a street in Tottenham on Sunday. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Mary Caffery has appealed for information over the death of her brother John Nolan (right) who was found on fire in a street in Tottenham on Sunday. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Nigel Sutton and supplied by John's family

A family has paid tribute to a “kind and gentle man” who has died after his clothes mysteriously caught alight while he was out for an afternoon walk.

Devastated Mary says her brother was 'completely unrecognisable' due to the severity of his injuries. Picture: Nigel SuttonDevastated Mary says her brother was 'completely unrecognisable' due to the severity of his injuries. Picture: Nigel Sutton

John Nolan suffered horrific burns and was airlifted to hospital following the unexplained incident in a Haringey street on Sunday afternoon.

The 70-year-old died the following day at a specialist burns hospital in Essex when life support was turned off.

He had suffered third degree burns over 65 per cent of his body and never regained consciousness.

His heartbroken sister, Mary Caffery, described John as being “completely unrecognisable” when she visited him in hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

John Nolan was described as a 'kind and gentle man who wouldn't hurt a fly'. Picture: Supplied by John Nolan's familyJohn Nolan was described as a 'kind and gentle man who wouldn't hurt a fly'. Picture: Supplied by John Nolan's family

The family has appealed for answers over the death.

Mary, 72, a retired NHS hospital PA, who lives in Muswell Hill, said: “It’s unbearable, an awful thing to happen. It looks very suspicious to me.

“We’re very concerned and would like to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Police confirmed the death is currently being treated as unexplained and inquiries continue.

John Nolan, 70, was found on fire near to his flat in Tottenham after going for a walk. Picture: Supplied by John's familyJohn Nolan, 70, was found on fire near to his flat in Tottenham after going for a walk. Picture: Supplied by John's family

The family said John was at home at his flat in Tottenham with his brother Jimmy on Sunday morning.

Jimmy left the flat while John was eating breakfast and it is understood that John went out for a walk sometime after 11am.

He was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a suit jacket.

When his brother Jimmy returned later that afternoon, he found police cordons and emergency services on scene.

Police confirmed they were called at 1pm to reports of a man with his clothes alight outside Williams House flats in Orchard Place, Tottenham.

John’s family say his walking stick and a key to his flat, which the 70-year-old wore on a chain around his neck, were found with him at the scene.

They have been left shocked and baffled by the manner of the death and have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“John was very well known and very well liked around the area,” said Mary.

“He was a very popular and nice fellow and he was a gentle man. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also tweet information to police via @MetCC.

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