Richard Curtin: London man jailed for killing friend in fire more than 20 years ago

Curtin killed his friend in October 1996

Richard Curtin finally came forward last year

Friday, March 9, 2018

A man has been jailed after admitting killing his friend in a fire in south London more than 20 years ago.

Richard Curtin pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his friend Paul Smith at a flat in Croydon in the early hours of October 6, 1996. The two men were living together at the time of the blaze.

Curtin, 50 and of Westminster, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey today (Friday March 9). He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at the same hearing.

Initial investigations confirmed that the fire had been started deliberately.

Curtin was initially arrested, following a police investigation, but it was deemed there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

Over 20 years later, on October 24 2017, Curtin contacted police stating he wanted to confess to killing Paul Smith.

He was arrested and charged the following day.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding of the Homicide and Major Crime Command said:

"It is over 20 years since Richard Curtin started the fire which resulted in the death of Paul Smith; a significant period of time in which Paul's family have been denied knowing the truth about what happened to him.

"I can only hope Curtin's admission of guilt provides some form of closure for them."