Westcliff tower block fire: Man admits killing pregnant woman

A man has admitted killing a pregnant woman by deliberately starting a fire in a tower block hallway.

Khabi Abrey, 30, and her unborn baby died in hospital two days after the blaze ripped through the ninth floor of the flats in Westcliff-on-Sea on 7 May. Mrs Abrey was eight months pregnant.

Lillo Troisi, 48, admitted manslaughter and arson. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced later this month.

Troisi also lived in the council-owned building on Balmoral Road.

Image copyright BBC/ESSEX POLICE
Image caption Khabi Abrey was 32 weeks' pregnant when she died in the tower block fire

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of Mrs Abrey's death as complications arising from the inhalation of fumes. Her baby died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Speaking after the Old Bailey hearing, Essex Police described Mrs Abrey's death as "such a sad case to investigate".

Det Ch Insp Marina Ericson said: "An innocent and beautiful woman who was 32 weeks' pregnant needlessly lost her life, and that of her unborn child."

Image caption The fire in May ripped through the ninth floor of the Grampian Flats in Balmoral Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Prosecutor Simon Spence QC said Mrs Abrey's husband had been told about the decision of the Crown to accept the plea and ask for the remaining charges against Troisi to lie on file.

Troisi will remain in custody until psychiatric reports are drawn up ahead of a sentencing hearing later this month.

Judge Mrs Justice McGowan told the defendant: "I need to know, both for your sake and the protection of the public, most importantly, whether you need to be in a hospital or whether you will be in prison."

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