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Man jailed for manslaughter in 1996, Croydon

News   •   Mar 09, 2018 11:34 GMT

[Richard Curtin]

A man has been jailed after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his friend who died following a fire at a flat in Croydon in 1996.

Richard Curtin, 50 (06.03.67) of Great Peter Street, SW1 pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on Friday, 9 March to the manslaughter of Paul Smith.

He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at the same hearing.

Mr Smith, who was aged 38 at the time of his death, died following a fire at the address he was staying at with Curtin in Violet Lane, Croydon in the early hours of 6 October 1996.

Initial investigations confirmed that the fire had been started deliberately.

Curtin was initially arrested, following a police investigation, it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

Over 20 years later, on 24 October 2017, Curtin contacted police stating he wanted to confess to killing Paul Smith.

He was arrested and charged the following day.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding of the Homicide and Major Crime Command said:

"It is over 20 years since Richard Curtin started the fire which resulted in the death of Paul Smith; a significant period of time in which Paul's family have been denied knowing the truth about what happened to him.

"I can only hope Curtin's admission of guilt provides some form of closure for them."