WITNESSES who rushed to save two people set on fire have spoken about the horror of what they saw during an inquest into the double death.

Jennifer Cronin, 72, and Kieren Lynch, 50, died following the attack in Boyce Green, South Benfleet, on March 13 last year.

Mr Lynch died the same day and Jennifer Cronin succumbed two weeks later.

An inquest is taking place this week to determine the circumstances around the deaths at Essex Coroner’s Court.

This morning, a jury heard from neighbours of Ms Cronin who heard screams coming from the garden.

Linda McGowan was playing golf on the course next to her home.

She said: “I was on the golf course, preparing to take a shot to putt the ball when I heard screaming and arguing, I must have been about 100 yards away from the house.

“I saw Jenny and her dog, who was jumping up and down and barking. I thought they might have been playing a game at first, then I saw a dark hooded figure behind her.

“It was then I thought ‘oh my god someone’s attacking her.’ He had a petrol can in his hand, he was throwing it over the back of Jenny.

“I just ran towards the garden. In that time, the back of her went up in flames. He was also in flames.

“We got to the edge of the garden patio and I saw he was picking up a large black container. At this I thought he was going to pour water over her to douse the flames, but as he turned I saw it was Kieren.

“I called out to him shouting ‘Kieren, what are you doing, what are you doing?’ and he poured the contents all over himself and he went completely up in flames.

“We had run over to Jenny and were trying to comfort her, but there was nothing we could do. Susan [Ms Cronin’s daughter] came round and was frantic, on the phone to the police. It was just chaos.”

Ms Cronin’s next door neighbour Maxine Howard had come running to the garden after hearing screams and had tried to help douse the flames, but was forced to flee when Kieren came at her, the jury heard.

She said: “I had a call from Susan the previous night to say her daughter Molly would be staying with Jenny because of the problems and threats made. Jenny was really worried. She asked me to call the police if I heard anything.

“The next day I heard screams and shouts. I ran out around the back of Jenny’s house and saw her. Her head and shoulders were alight.

“I ran to her and got her to lay down and roll to get the flames put out, it was then when Kieren poured the petrol over himself and lit up. He was walking towards me, so I ran and jumped over the garden wall. I kept shouting to Jenny to keep rolling.

“When I saw he was slumped down I jumped back over and ran to Jenny to ensure the flames were out.”

The inquest continues...