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Man who set neighbour on fire gets life.

A SECURITY guard who doused his neighbour in petrol and set him alight following a row, has been jailed for life.

Andrew Nugent, 55, was unanimously convicted by a Liverpool Crown Court jury of murdering Stephen Balmer, 42. Mr Balmer, who was an alcoholic, died in a huge explosion at his flat deliberately caused by Nugent, who was also badly burned in the blast.

Mr Balmer lived alone in a beds it in Manley Road, Waterloo and Nugent, who also had a drink problem, lived in the adjoining large Victorian house, which was split into bedsits.

During Nugent's trial, prosecutor Graham Wood QC told the court Mr Balmer, a father-of-three, was well liked by his landlord and not thought to be aggressive, even when he was drunk.

However Nugent was described by his fellow tenants as ``charming'' when sober, but violent and aggressive after drinking binges. The jury took an hour to find Nugent guilty of murder, and Judge John Roberts jailed him for life.

Judge Roberts said Nugent will serve a minimum of 15 years and 361 days before he will be eligible for parole.

He told Nugent: ``The manner of death of Stephen Balmer was gruesome in the extreme. ''

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2004
Words:205
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