A controlling husband, Damion Simmons, 45, who didn’t want his wife to see her friends, poured liters of petrol over her before setting her on fire at her home in Brent, north-west London, on April 16, 2020.
The incident occurred in the UK, with the victim, 36-year-old Denise Keane-Simmons, found on her bedroom floor in Alric Avenue with extensive burns and smoke inhalation, and was pronounced dead in hospital.
Police say they attended the property 40 minutes before he carried out the ‘calculated’ killing as the victim had reported threatening messages from her estranged husband that said he had put pictures of her on PornHub.
She also reported discovering he had hidden a camera in a lightbulb in her bedroom.
In a statement to police officers she called over on the night of her murder, Mrs Keane-Simmons, who worked as a teaching assistant, said: ‘I feel anxious about leaving my house as his behaviour is so unpredictable and just want to live my life without that worry of Damion.’
But less than an hour after the police left, Simmons burnt down the house.
The couple had met in Trinidad where they married in February 2019, and Simmons then relocated to the UK to move in with his wife.
But their relationship became strained because he wanted Mrs Keane-Simmons to change her behaviour and stop seeing friends.
Hours before the murder, the man posted an intimate picture of her on Instagram along with her maiden name, job and the school where she worked.
In a WhatsApp voice message he then sent to his ex-wife, he said: ‘I hope you suffer and die just like how I suffer and die before I go. I really hope you suffer and die.’
On the same night of her death, CCTV captured Simmons buying five and a half litres of fuel from a nearby petrol station.
Further CCTV footage showed him pouring petrol through the letterbox of the victim’s address and smashing a window to get inside, with the fire igniting 30 seconds later.
Simmons, was convicted of murder and arson with intent to endanger life at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, September 1.
The defendant denied murder, claiming he had not intended to harm Mrs Keane-Simmons but that she had died accidentally when he was trying to kill himself in front of her.
He later admitted making a series of internet searches, including Crown Prosecution Service guidance on defences in law for murder and ‘best way to use a knife and kill someone’, but said he had no intention of doing that.
He said all these despite jurors being told at the beginning of the trial that he had admitted manslaughter.
He had previously pleaded guilty to disclosing private and sexual photographs with intent to cause distress.
Detective chief inspector Neil John said after the verdict that the defendant’s behaviour ‘epitomises extreme domestic violence’.
‘My thoughts remain with Denise’s family and friends and I hope today’s outcome can offer them some degree of comfort, knowing that her killer has been brought to justice.
‘Denise was clearly loved by all, and this tragic incident has affected many people far and wide.
‘The actions of Damion Simmons that night were calculated, and the jury have come to the conclusion that he set out that night not to kill himself, as he claimed, but to kill Denise.
‘His actions were both selfish and reckless. He cruelly took away Denise’s future and could have easily caused serious harm to the other woman inside the property and adjoining households.’
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