A “controlling” and “jealous” man who set fire to his estranged wife has been found guilty of her murder.

Damion Simmons, 45, doused Denise Keane-Simmons, 36, in petrol, in Brent, north-west London, early on 16 April 2020. She died later that morning.

Simmons, who was also found guilty of arson with intent, had sent a voice note to his victim that night saying “I really hope you suffer and die”, the Old Bailey heard.

He will be sentenced on 22 September.
Giving evidence during the trial, Simmons admitted being a “controlling” and “jealous” husband who had harassed his wife.

However, he maintained he had not meant for her to die.

The court heard that on 10 February 2020, Ms Keane-Simmons made a formal complaint to police about her husband’s behaviour, which included constantly contacting her on social media and sending messages to her workplace suggesting she wanted him “beaten up”.

In March, 13 months after their wedding in Trinidad and Tobago, she started divorce proceedings.

Strong smell of petrol

On 15 April, a friend received a photograph of Ms Keane-Simmons naked in the bath which the defendant also posted on his own Instagram account, together with his wife’s maiden name and details of the school where she worked, the Old Bailey heard.

The defendant later admitted he had sent the photo.

Prosecutor William Emlyn-Jones QC told the jury that 45 minutes after posting the image on Instagram, Simmons went to a garage and bought a petrol canister which he filled up with more than five litres of petrol.

In the early hours of 16 April, the fire brigade were called and forced their way into Ms Keane-Simmons room, but she had suffered significant burns and a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, the court heard.

She was later pronounced dead at hospital.

Meanwhile, the defendant was found lying on the ground in the back garden underneath an open window and smelling strongly of petrol.

Simmons later claimed he had tried to set himself on fire and was about to pour petrol on himself when Ms Keane-Simmons had knocked it out of his hand.

He told the court he remembered having a lighter in his hand and an explosion before he jumped out of a window.


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