ONE of the accused in a murder trial threatened to kill Paul Gillett and burn down his flat just hours before his body was discovered, a court has heard.

Mr Gillett, 54, was found dead at his flat in Station Road, Clacton, by firefighters on Boxing Day.

Seth Stollery, 48, and Freya Parker-Magowen, 44, both deny murder.

Yesterday, Frank Reeves, neighbour and drug dealer to Mr Gillett, told Chelmsford Crown Court Stollery had threatened to kill Mr Gillett when they were on the phone.

He said: “In a nutshell he said he was going to go to Paul’s to kill him and set the block on fire.

“I told him I lived in the block and I had my step-daughter in here. I said if anything happens, he would not like the outcome.

“He sounded off his nut. I did not take the threat seriously.”

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Mr Reeves had never met Stollery but lived in the same block of flats as Mr Gillett.

He told the court Mr Gillett had visited the flat where he lived with his then partner several times on Christmas Day for drugs and borrow his phone.

He described Mr Gillett becoming distressed about Parker-Magowen’s whereabouts as the pair had been living together at the time.

At about 9pm the witness said he went to Mr Gillett’s flat, where he made two further calls to try to locate Parker-Magowen.

“I heard a lot of background noise and could hear a bloke’s voice,” Mr Reeves said.

“I left Paul and when I came back to him he didn’t not seem himself, he looked scared.

“He said to me Freya’s ex-partner (Stollery) was coming back and he seemed really worried.”

In the early hours of Boxing Day, there was a text exchange between Mr Reeves and Stollery where it was suggested Parker-Magowen had been sleeping with Mr Gillett.

At 3.16am the three minute long phone conversation took place between the pair.

The defence say Mr Gillett was working as a drug runner for Mr Reeves at the time of his death.

Parker-Magowen and Stollery deny murder and arson with intent to endanger life and ParkerMagowan denies arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The trial continues