A VULNERABLE man refused to allow action to be taken against a drug addict who manipulated him for two years before killing him.

Attempts were made to protect Fred Payne, 78, from Lisa Connelly who was living with him.

Mr Payne died in 2016 after a blaze at his home in Rochdale Way, Colchester, which was sparked by Connelly who was living with him.

Connelly started the fire while high on crack cocaine.

The pair were not blood related but Mr Payne had been asked to look after Connelly by his late wife when she died and he called her his granddaughter.

Connelly admitted manslaughter and arson being reckless as to whether life or property was endangered and was jailed for 12 years in March 2017.

Now a domestic homicide report has been prepared by the Safer Colchester Partnership which said six safeguarding referrals had been made in the two years leading up to Mr Payne’s death about his relationship with Connelly and her abusive partner.

The report, which is anonymised but understood to refer to the circumstances leading to Mr Payne’s death, said: “Between August 2014 and September 2016 a number of professionals became concerned about the situation.

“Six safeguarding referrals were raised surrounding his contact with her and her partner and subsequently closed for the same reason - he understood the risks associated with his unwise decision not to take any action against her or ask her to move out.

“As he had the mental capacity to make this decision, the safeguarding referrals were closed on each occasion.”

Health workers visited and had become concerned about diabetic Mr Payne’s glucose levels due to a lack of food because he was being financially abused.

His GP made a referral when Connelly was selling his prescription medicine to drug dealers.

In the days before he died, Mr Payne is understood to have been thinking about getting a court order against Connelly and moving to sheltered housing.

The report said a multi-agency meeting should have been held to look at ways of dealing with the situation.

“Housing were aware of incidents taking place at his home address,” it said.

“As he was the named tenant the only action that they could take would be in relation to him. This was raised as a missed opportunity by the panel who believed the housing agency should have held a multi-agency meeting to discuss what was taking place at the address and to look at other ways of dealing with the situation.”

It added: “The key learning is for a multi-agency approach to sharing information and jointly assessing and responding to risk when a person has mental capacity but makes unwise decisions.”