Essex

Colchester flat fire death: Woman denies murder and arson

Burnt out house
Image caption The cause of the fire in Rochdale Way, Colchester, has yet to be established

A woman has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and arson with intent to endanger life after an elderly man died in a flat fire.

Fred Payne, 78, died after breathing in smoke during the fire in Rochdale Way, Colchester, in September.

Lisa Connelly, 42, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court where she denied the charges against her.

A trial date has been scheduled to take place on 27 February. She admitted a separate offence of burglary.

Sentencing for that charge will take place after the murder trial, court staff said.

Image caption Lisa Connelly denies arson with intent to endanger life

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