Inquest hears of Norwich man's house fire tragedy

Gary Hunt (left) and Jem Probert (right) 

Gary Hunt is pictured on the left - Credit: Picture by Tracy Hildred

A city man with a complex medical history was found dead in his home after bedding had been set alight, an inquest has heard.

Gary Hunt died at the age of 59 on February 2, 2021, after emergency services were called to Langley Walk, off Palace Road, around 9.40pm. 

A fire service investigation report read out in court stated the fire had broken out in the main bedroom of the property.

Mr Hunt was found lying on the floor of a second bedroom.

He was declared dead at the scene and was found to have been nearly two times the legal driving limit for alcohol consumption at the time.

Picture of flowers left at scene of fatal fire at Langley Walk.

Picture of flowers left at scene of fatal fire at Langley Walk. - Credit: Peter Walsh/Archant Norfolk

A post-mortem report found he had also taken drugs and the medical cause of death was given as smoke inhalation due to the house fire.

Friday morning's inquest heard Mr Hunt required assisted living support from a carer after he had suffered a traumatic head injury in 2005.

The incident contributed to short-term memory loss and personality disorder patterns.

A statement from Mr Hunt's carer, Julie Langston, told the court Mr Hunt had been agitated on the day of his death.

Most Read

She said: "He found lockdown extremely difficult and I had to explain lockdown to him.

"Gary formed an attachment to me and would get upset if I took holiday or needed another carer to look after him."

Langley Walk where a fatal fire broke out on Tuesday, February 2 (Picture Danielle Booden) and inset Gary Hunt who died in...

Langley Walk where a fatal fire broke out on Tuesday, February 2 (Picture Danielle Booden) and inset Gary Hunt who died in the fire (Picture Facebook) - Credit: Danielle Booden, Archant Norfolk/Facebook

The court heard Mr Hunt had taken Ms Langston's car keys to stop her leaving after they watched television together that evening.

She eventually left at around 8.30pm - approximately one hour before smoke was seen from Mr Hunt's home.

Police van near Langley Walk

Police remain at the scene of the house fire in Langley Walk, Norwich. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

The fire service found one patch of the bedding appeared to have been deliberately ignited, while a jacket was also found in the shower which had also been set on fire. 

Evidence from Dr Christopher Dent of the Oak Street Medical Practice said Mr Hunt had suffered a further serious head injury in March 2020.

He also had a history of trying to take his own life on multiple occasions. 

Police officer at scene of house fire

Police at the scene of the house fire in Langley Walk, Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Senior coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, gave an open conclusion stating there was not enough evidence into Mr Hunt's thinking to judge if his death had been suicide or accident.

Ms Lake said: "Mr Hunt could take action without necessarily thinking of the consequences. He could be impulsive."

Picture of flowers left at scene of fatal fire at Langley Walk.

Picture of flowers left at scene of fatal fire at Langley Walk. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk