Barrister died when fire started by a candle ripped through luxury flat

first_imgNobody heard any alarm, it’s really worryingNeighbour A barrister died when a fire believed to have been started by a candle ripped through his luxury flat overlooking the Thames, as neighbours said they did not hear the fire alarms go off. Ian Paton, a 66-year-old part-time Crown Court recorder, is believed to have died of smoke inhalation when his £1.2 million apartment in Bermondsey, south London, was engulfed by flames around 5.30pm on Tuesday. Neighbours have since claimed that the smoke detectors in the apartment building were not heard, with some suggesting that the fire was started by a candle.Residents have also been questioned by police about whether they had seen anything suspicious because of Mr Paton’s job as a senior prosecutor, they said. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has not commented on the claims, but a source told the Evening Standard: “This is no longer suspicious. This will probably go down more as misadventure. The cause is still being investigated, but there were candles in the flat.”One neighbour, who refused to be named, said her boyfriend returned home to see smoke billowing out of Mr Paton’s window, but heard no fire alarms sounding. Everyone knew him as a really respected guy. He was a gentlemanSally Mertens She said: “Nobody heard any alarm, it’s really worrying. At 5pm my boyfriend arrived and saw lots of smoke coming out of the windows. He told the concierge who then started telling people to get out and called the fire brigade. We were evacuated and not allowed back in until 9pm.”She added that police had asked her “whether we saw anything strange outside and kept asking if there was somebody strange hanging outside”.The barrister, a member of QEB chambers, is believed to have been alone when the fire started.One neighbour said others had told her it was started by a candle. “But that’s strange because who lights candles at 5.30pm on a Tuesday?” she said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Friends described Mr Paton as “very nice” and “really respected” as they paid tribute to him on Friday.Sally Mertens, 46, a barrister who knew Mr Paton in his capacity as a judge, said: “He was a very nice guy, we had mutual friends at QEB and everyone knew him as a really respected guy. He was a gentleman. “It’s so sad, he really was at the top of his game.”It took 21 firefighters nearly two hours to battle the flames.The cause of the blaze is currently under investigation by the LFB and Metropolitan Police.In a statement, the LFB said: “A man was rescued from the flat by firefighters but was sadly confirmed dead at scene. Part of the third floor flat was damaged by the fire.”A Scotland Yard spokesman said a post-mortem examination took place on December 21. No arrests have been made. last_img