Chadwell Heath fire death man had lived in garage for more than two years

�An estate agent has told how a man found dead after a garage fire had lived there for two-and-a-half years.

On Monday emergency services were called to the property in Rochford Avenue, Chadwell Heath at just after 1am and paramedics confirmed one patient was dead at the scene.

The next day it emerged the garage had a toilet, shower, radiator and various appliances, including a microwave. The remains of a bed could also be seen.

Imran Malik, 28, of Britannia Road, Ilford, said the man owned the house and garage, and moved into the garage when he rented out the house.

Mr Malik’s mother-in-law Eiva Puke moved into the house with her six children and he acted as the negotiator because she does not speak English.

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Mr Malik said: “I spoke with Raj almost every day for a period and he was a nice man who provided new furniture and painted the walls.

“However, he had an alcohol problem and was drunk all the time.

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“He was depressed and told me he had lost a building business and custody of his children.

“I have no idea why he was living in the garage because it wasn’t a good place to stay.

“He had lived there since my mother-in-law moved into the house more than two years ago. He made it into his home.

“He always told me he was going to move out and head to America or India to be with family but he never did.”

Mr Malik said two weeks before the incident Raj had been involved in a fight.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said planning permission had not been obtained to turn the garage into a home but said an investigation will only take place if the council receives information that any unlawful use has recommenced.

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