A coroner has ruled that an ‘enormous’ fire that ripped through a car, killing the owner inside, was an unexplained accident.
Rio Nerrus, 42, formerly of London Road, Boston, was found dead in his car at about 8.30am on December 31, following the fire on Chain Bridge Road, in Wyberton.
At an inquest into his death held at Stamford Town Hall on Thursday, coroner Robert Forrest said that there had been an ‘enormous’ fire, which originated in the engine compartment and spread through the front of his Ford Mondeo.
He was found with the starter key turned to half-way, not on, and with his seatbelt still in place.
He had a vodka bottle with him, a juice bottle in his hand and a pack of cigarettes.
The inquest was told how an investigation could not establish why the car set alight, but didn’t believe he’d done it deliberately.
It also heard that Rio’s blood had been found to contain 310 milligrams of alcohol per hundred millilitres of blood and his urine. 416 in 100 millilitres of blood.
The legal limit driving limit is 80 in blood and 107 in urine,
Mr Forrest said: “Rio would have been unconscious at the time the fire started.
“He’s unlikely to have suffered.”
At the hearing it was revealed the cars sunroof had been blown off and melted on to the car bonnet.
In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Nerrus’ long-term girlfriend Aija Danisevska described how she had met Rio three years ago in Latvia, where he worked as a mechanic and car sprayer.
She had crashed her car and took it in to be repaired.
She said: “It took him a long time to do it, perhaps he wanted to see me more often.”
A short while later they both moved to England, where Mr Nerrus, lived in London Road with his cousin and took up various jobs before being leaving to work in Corby, Northamptonshire, about a year ago.
Miss Danisevska, who lives in Castle Square, Boston, with her daughter said that in the previous spring, Rio had asked her to marry him– she had replied ‘we’ll see how things go’.
She said: “He was a calm person who was always ready to help. He wasn’t angry.
“Rio and I had a very good relationship.
“During the three years, we never fell out and always wrote text messages that we loved each other.
“He had no financial problems or other worries I knew about. in general he was a happy man.”
She said the night before Mr Nerrus’ death, the pair had bought three bottles of champagne and friends had come over to visit.
She said she and a friend had shared one bottle and Rio had drunk vodka and lemonade, finishing a 200 millilitre bottle.
They had food and then Rio said he was going to buy cigarettes.
He came back three hours later and she said it was clear he had been drinking. They had a short argument before going to bed.
Early in the morning she heard him leave the flat and saw him sat in the car out her window. She said there was nothing strange about this behaviour as he often did it.
Later she got up and called him at about 7.50am, telling him he didn’t have to come back as she had to go to work.
She said she heard a voice, believed to be his cousin, saying ‘oh you’ll have to go back now’.
Mr Forrest recorded a verdict of accidental death.