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Police appeal for witnesses to unexplained death of man found on fire in Haringey street

PUBLISHED: 10:39 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 15 December 2017

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the death of John Nolan, who died after his clothes caught fire during an afternoon walk. Picture: Supplied by John Nolan's family

Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the death of John Nolan, who died after his clothes caught fire during an afternoon walk. Picture: Supplied by John Nolan's family

Supplied by John Nolan's family

An appeal has been launched by detectives investigating the death of a man found on fire in the street.

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

Shortly after 1pm on Sunday, September 17 paramedics were called to a man on fire in Orchard Place, near to Williams House flats in Tottenham.

John Nolan suffered terrible burns and was airlifted to hospital after firemen fought to put out the flames following the unexplained incident.

He died in a specialist burns unit in Essex the next day when his life-support machine was switched off.

Speaking to the Ham&High days after his death Mr Nolan’s sister, Mary Caffery, described her brother as being “completely unrecognisable” when she visited him in hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

Mary Caffrey whose brother John Nolan died in tragic circumstances. Mary's brother John went out for an afternoon walk from his flat in Tottenham and was found in the street with his clothes on fire. Mary Caffrey whose brother John Nolan died in tragic circumstances. Mary's brother John went out for an afternoon walk from his flat in Tottenham and was found in the street with his clothes on fire.

Ms Caffery, 72, a retired NHS hospital PA, who lives in Muswell Hill, said at the time: “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.”

The family said Mr Nolan, originally from County Mayo in Ireland, was at home with his brother Jimmy on the Sunday morning.

It is understood Mr Nolan went out for a walk sometime after 11am.

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

A post-mortem examination concluded Mr Nolan, 70, a retired builder who lived in Tenterden Road, died of severe burns. An inquest into his death is due to open at Barnet Coroner’s Court on March 13 next year.

An investigation by London Fire Brigade into the cause of the blaze found no substance or accelerant had started the fire.

PC Damien Ait-Amer said: “We have spoken with a number of witnesses who saw Mr Nolan ablaze, but we have yet to establish how the fire started.

“Mr Nolan was a well-liked member of the community and none of our enquiries so far have indicated that he had been involved in a dispute of any sort. Nor does any account given by witnesses suggest that he had been in contact with another person at the time of the fire.”

Haringey CID detectives are investigating with enquiries continuing to establish the circumstances. No arrests have been made and the death is currently being treated as unexplained.

Anyone who witnessed the incident but has yet to speak with police is urged to call PC Damien Ait-Amer via 101. You can also tweet information to police via @MetCC.

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