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  1. ITV Report

Man detained for killing pregnant woman and unborn baby in tower block fire

Khabi Abrey, 30, died in hospital two days after a blaze ripped through her block of flats near Southend Credit: ITV News Anglia

A mentally ill man, who killed a pregnant woman and her unborn baby in a tower block fire in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, has been detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

Lilli Troisi, was suffering from schizophrenia when he used petrol to start the fire outside his neighbour's flat in Balmoral Road last May.

Lillo Troisi, 48, admitted manslaughter and arson Credit: Essex police

Troisi told Blackfriars Crown Court 'voices in his head compelled him to set the fire as a warning to the occupants of the flat', who he had not previously met.

The court also heard he deliberately started the fire with a can of petrol in the hallway outside Mrs Abrey's ninth-floor flat.

The 48-year-old was charged with murder, child destruction and arson.

He denied these charges but admitted involuntary manslaughter and arson when he appeared at the Old Bailey in November.

Khabi Abrey with her husband Stuart Credit: Essex police

Mrs Abrey, who was eight months pregnant, died in hospital two days after the fire, from complications after breathing in fumes, post-mortem tests showed.

Her baby died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Al Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This has been such a sad and tragic case to investigate.

"An innocent woman who was 32 weeks pregnant needlessly lost her life, and that of her unborn child, as a result of a horrendous act."

"There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Troisi knew or believed Mrs Abrey was pregnant, or that he wished for her to be killed."

"However, his appalling actions resulted in both her death and that of her unborn child, for which he must now be held accountable."

Flowers left at the scene of the fire in Westcliff-on-Sea in May 2016 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Troisi has been detained under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act to receive treatment.

He was also made subject of a section 41 restriction order, which means he will not be discharged from hospital until the Ministry of Justice has agreed to release him.

Firefighters evacuated the ninth floor and found Mrs Abrey, 30, unconscious in the hallway. Credit: ITV News Anglia