Woman, 49, was forced to watch her ex-husband burn her mother alive

Woman, 49, tells of horrific moment she was forced to watch as her drug-crazed stalker ex-husband doused her mother in petrol and burned her alive before torching himself

  • Susan Lynch, 49, watched her ex-husband Kieren, 50, burn her mother alive
  • Lynch broke into Jennifer Cronin’s house in Essex before setting her ablaze
  • Susan was visiting her mother on March 13, 2018, when the attack happened 
  • Lynch set himself alight and died that evening, while Jennifer died 17 days later 

A woman has spoken of how she watched her stalker ex-husband set her mother on fire in a petrol attack before burning himself to death.

Susan Lynch, from Benfleet, Essex, watched her ex-husband Kieren Lynch, 50, douse her mother Jennifer Cronin, 70, in petrol before setting himself ablaze.  

Susan, 49, was making a cup of tea at her mother’s house on March 13, 2018, when Lynch broke into the garden, with his arm on fire, and threw petrol over Jennifer’s face, head and back.

Lynch died later that evening at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, while Jennifer died 17 days later. 

Susan Lynch, from Benfleet, Essex, (above) has spoken out about watching her jealous ex-husband Kieren douse her mother Jennifer Cronin with petrol on March 13, 2018 

Kieren Lynch, 50, (pictured with Susan and their two children) broke into Susan’s mother’s garden with his arm on fire before throwing petrol over Jennifer’s face, head and back

Susan has spoken out about the ‘disturbing’ incident, saying her children Matilda, 17, and Molly, 21, still have ‘nightmares and flashbacks’.

Susan, a hairdresser, said: ‘Watching my mum get burned alive by my ex-husband – and being helpless to intervene – was exceptionally disturbing.

‘She didn’t deserve such a painful and traumatic death.

‘Mum still had lots of years to live and plenty of love to give to her grandchildren.

‘My poor girls have got to live with this forever.

‘Thankfully they have lovely memories of the person their dad used to be.’

The couple were married for 24 years and before Kieren developed a cocaine addiction.

After trying to help her husband, Susan ended the relationship when his volatile behaviour became too much.

Lynch seemed to be getting his life back on track but became threatening after Susan got together with another man.

In January 2018, he sent a string of violent text messages, before going to the family home and smashing up the garden patio with a hammer. 

 Susan ended her relationship with Kieren after he developed a cocaine addition. But her ex-husband became threatening when Susan developed a relationship with another man

Jennifer Cronin, 70, (left) died in hospital 17 days after Lynch (pictured right with Susan), who was married to Susan for 24 years, set her on fire in the horrific petrol attack

He was arrested for criminal damage but released on bail later that night, with conditions not to contact Susan. 

But he continued to call her and her family up to 80 times a day and, the day before the petrol attack, even threatened to kill one of his daughters.

Terrified Susan called the police six times in just 24 hours, but Lynch was not re-arrested.

Jennifer was frightened by Lynch’s threats and Susan had gone to comfort her mother at her house in South Benfleet, Essex, when Kieren arrived ‘screaming his head off’ with his arm on fire. 

Susan said: ‘I was screaming and called 999 as I ran from the house.

‘I was on the phone to the police the whole time, I tried to get back into the garden to see my mum but the neighbours were there too and tried to stop me from seeing what he’d done.

‘By the time I’d got there Kieren had already set himself fully on fire too, he was slumped against a wall, so badly burnt, but I didn’t care.

‘I went to my mum, she was totally bald, all her hair had been burnt off.

‘But she was so serene, she told me she loved me.

‘I think she knew she was dying.’ 

Susan, 49, has now spoken out about the ‘disturbing’ incident, saying her children Matilda, 17, and Molly, 21, (pictured with Susan and Kieren above) still have ‘nightmares and flashbacks’

A week-long jury inquest in January 2019 concluded that Jennifer was unlawfully killed while Lynch died by suicide – but poor communication by Essex Police had been a factor.

Susan, who is taking legal action against Essex Police, said: ‘Each time I called it was as if it was an entirely new case, so the police never put together a full picture of how badly things were escalating.

‘Basic things like filling in a form to record the presence of children in the house which should have prioritised our case and had it escalated to a more serious level, wasn’t done.

‘Or the fact that the situation wasn’t properly recorded on a handover by one officer which resulted in Kieren not being arrested and leaving him free to go onto do what he did.’

In March 2019, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) identified a ‘lack of clarity’ over domestic abuse offences and a lack of ‘positive action’ from officers.

A domestic homicide review also criticised the police for allowing Lynch to slip through the net, saying his behaviour ‘amounted to stalking’.

Susan is taking legal action against Essex Police after a domestic homicide review criticised the police for allowing Lynch to slip through the net, saying his behaviour ‘amounted to stalking’

Susan said: ‘Police are meant to serve and protect, but they didn’t protect us at all, not even Kieren.’

Detective Superintendent Neil Pudney said: ‘In this case an inquest found that we could have done more to have kept Jennifer Cronin safe.

‘Eight officers have received management action in relation to record keeping and processing of information.

‘Since 2018, we have undertaken a review of our training around response to reports of Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour-based abuse.

‘Following this tragic incident we worked closely with the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) who identified no misconduct in respect of the actions of the officers involved.

‘I would like to finish by once again offering my condolences to the families of those who sadly lost their lives and I hope that the actions taken offer some comfort.’

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