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'A terrible way to go': Family appeal for information after death of pensioner found on fire in London

John Nolan (70) died in hospital on Sunday after sustaining serious injuries while out walking.

John Nolan died after suffering severe burns on Sunday.
John Nolan died after suffering severe burns on Sunday.

Updated at 1.35pm

THE FAMILY OF an Irish man who died in London from serious burns after he was found on fire have appealed for information about what happened to him.

Police in London are investigating the death of John Nolan (70), who died in hospital on Sunday after sustaining serious burns while out walking near his home in Haringey in North London.

Police and emergency services were called to the scene of a fire on Sunday at Williams House, Orchard Place. When they arrived, they found John ablaze.

The fire was quickly extinguished and John was taken to a specialist hospital outside of London by London Air Ambulance with serious burn injuries.

He later died from the injuries he sustained.

Police said they are treating the death as unexplained and no arrests have been made.

“We don’t know what happened to him”

John was originally from Mayo but had been living in London since 1960s. He was in poor health but was active around his area.

John’s nephew Kevin Byrne told that the family were all devastated following his death and didn’t know what happened to him. He appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“We were just worried that a frail, elderly man was attacked on the street,” he said.

“We just don’t know what happened to him and we’d like to know.

I just want to appeal to anyone who is in the area who might have seen something to come forward… It was a terrible way to go.

Kevin described John as “a very content man” who was well-liked in his area.

He suffered from ill-health but he was just a very content man. He would walk about with his dog and he knew everyone up and down the road.  The would look out for him.

“Can’t come to terms with it”

Speaking to the Irish Post, John’s sister Mary Caffrey also appealed for information on his death.

“We can’t come to terms with it at all, he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she said.

We don’t know how it happened, it’s all still a mystery. We don’t know what the situation was, and we’d like to get to the bottom of what’s happened, it’s such a tragedy.

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Mary said that John had been planning to watch the All-Ireland final that day with his brother.

She said he had suffered a stroke in the 1980s and was quite feeble, but that he would walk every day for exercise.

Mary said that John was “totally unrecognisable” following the blaze.

“The emergency team were treating him and then when he was moved to intensive car we were allowed to see him,” she said.

“He was very heavily sedated on pain medication, and he was on a life support machine.

He was totally unrecognisable, he had very deep burns on 65% of his body, and was bandaged from head to foot.

Police said that enquiries are still ongoing to establish the circumstances of John’s death.

Anyone in the UK with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also tweet information to police via @MetCC.

Read: Police make sixth arrest in connection with London Tube bomb attack

Read: ‘Thank you for filling my life with joy’: Tributes paid to six-year-old who died in Grenfell fire

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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