A man has been found guilty of murder after dousing his estranged wife and her house in petrol before setting them on fire.

Damion Simmons, of no fixed address, was also convicted of arson with intent to endanger life at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, August 31.

The 45-year-old set fire to a residential property in Alric Avenue, Brent, with former partner Denise Keane-Simmons inside during the early hours of April 16, 2020.

At 2.10am he was caught on CCTV pouring petrol through the letterbox, smashing a glass window with a wooden panel and climbing inside.

The fire started shortly after and was spreading through the address when emergency services arrived.

They found Denise, who was aged 36, suffering serious injuries in an upstairs bedroom, before she was taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.

Harrow Times: Denise Keane-Simmons. Picture: Met Police.Denise Keane-Simmons. Picture: Met Police.

A post-mortem gave her cause of death as severe burns and smoke inhalation, with further analysis suggesting Simmons had poured petrol over her body.

Denise’s friend, a woman in her 60s, was sleeping inside the property but was able to jump to safety through a bedroom window without any serious injuries.

Simmons, who is also thought to have jumped from the property, was found lying in the garden beneath a bathroom window.

He was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with minor burn injuries before being taken into custody.

He told officers and doctors that he had only intended to harm himself when he started the fire.

The pair had been married since 2019 but the relationship broke down months before Denise’s death.

Harrow Times: Damion Simmons. Picture: Met Police.Damion Simmons. Picture: Met Police.

The separation caused Simmons to begin a campaign of abuse and torment against his former partner.

In the hours before her death Simmons posted an intimate photo of Denise on Instagram, and at 10.31pm he bought a can of petrol from a station in Hornsey Rise.

Denise had reported the Instagram image to police and officers went to her address shortly after midnight to take a statement.

They stayed for around an hour, leaving Denise in the care of a friend who was staying at the property.

During this time Simmons had boarded a bus and travelled to Harlesden where he was hiding near Denise's property, before he eventually started the fire.

The Met Police confirmed a referral has been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in relation to previous police contact with the victim prior to her death.

Simmons will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 22.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: "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.

"This type of behaviour unfortunately epitomises extreme domestic violence and I would urge anyone who feels they may be in such a relationship to contact the police or our partners who will be able to take positive action and provide the necessary support and advice."