Illegal immigrant girlfriend of man found dead in burning car in Belbroughton was "bleeding him dry" (From Bromsgrove Advertiser)
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Illegal immigrant girlfriend of man found dead in burning car in Belbroughton was "bleeding him dry"
1:50pm Thursday 9th August 2012 in Local
AN accountant found dead in his car after it left a Belbroughton lane in flames had stolen up to £70,000 from his employer to fund his illegal immigrant girlfriend who was "bleeding him dry", a court heard.
Anthony Roden, from Quinton, was discovered in his Rover 75 in a field off the B4188 Hackman’s Gate Lane between Belbroughton and Blakedown - moments after his car had been seen hurtling down the road on fire.
An inquest at Stourport Coroner’s Court heard the 56-year-old divorced dad had taken £60,000 to £70,000 from his employer's accounts.
And at 9.40am on the morning of the fatal incident, on March 14, his boss and friend Timothy Boscher had sent him an ultimatum in an email demanding an explanation - or their 35-year friendship and Mr Roden’s job would be terminated.
At around 11.30am, witness Anne Burton saw Mr Roden's car "being driven erratically" along the B4188 with plumes of smoke pouring from the back.
She noticed the driver sitting “motionless” and told the court she heard a loud popping sound and saw the vehicle’s side windows bursting and bags flying out before the burning car careered down an embankment and through a hedge into a field.
Police and fire crews arrived at the scene but Mr Roden, of Whitley Court Road, was pronounced dead. A post mortem revealed he died of burns.
Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams said there were no signs of a pre-existing health condition or medical emergency and no drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
There were also no vehicle faults that could have caused a fire, he said.
Fire investigator Kevin Williams, of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said lighters and aerosol cans were found in the car and sniffer dogs detected traces of a flammable liquid which was probably ignited by a naked flame - resulting in an explosion which blew the windows out and sucked oxygen in causing a fire.
But he said "extensive damage to the car precluded any definitive explanation of exactly what happened".
Police officer DC Jake Wright said Mr Roden had been seeing a woman in Birmingham who had overstayed her visitor’s visa by more than 12 months.
The woman, Regina Stan, was living in an apartment and was also a named tenant on another high value city apartment.
DC Wright said the property was rented under Mr Roden’s name and six months worth of rent, totalling £6,000, had been paid for in advance in cash. There was no evidence of Mr Roden having lived there or stayed there.
The detective said Stan, who had been living in the UK under a false name, had since been deported to Trinidad.
The coroner said: “Mr Roden had become infatuated or obsessed with this young woman and she set about bleeding him dry."
He said Mr Roden was "previously a man of good character, trusted and well-respected by his employer".
But his behaviour changed in November 2011 and Mr Boscher grew "increasingly concerned".
The coroner recorded an open verdict at the hearing on Tuesday August 7.