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Suicide in blaze aborted
9:00pm Wednesday 11th April 2012 in News
father-of-three Stewart Menzies torched the family home on his 35th wedding anniversary because he was upset that his wife was divorcing him.
The 63-year-old accountant was in the process of hanging himself in the blazing building on Rowden Hill, Chippenham, when neighbours came to see what was happening on Sunday, August 21 last year.
And fearing the local residents and any rescuers may get injured in the fire, Menzies abandoned his suicidal plans.
Menzies had put the dog and cat outside, made sure his daughter would be out for lunch and put the laptops of all of his grown up children in the garage.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the fire caused damage between £75,000 and £100,000 to the property.
Charlotte O’Connor, defending, said her client had been diagnosed with depression a few weeks before the incident. She said he had no intention of harming anyone but himself which is why he ‘snapped out of it’ when he heard his neighbours outside.
She urged the court to put off passing sentence to allow Menzie, of Tufnell Park, north London, time to be assessed for psychiatric treatment.
Judge Douglas Field said he initially did not intend to put off passing sentence but had changed his mind. He adjourned the case to May 31 so Menzies could be assessed.