A mentally-ill man killed himself by setting fire to his front room over fears he would be kicked out of his home, a coroner ruled.

Kevin Hall, 57, who was divorced with a young son, covered his flat in St Andrew’s Road, Surbiton, with petrol, lit a match and lay on the sofa after being served an eviction notice by Kingston Council.

Two weeks before the suicide on April 1 last year, Mr Hall failed to turn up to an eviction hearing, telling social workers he "no longer had the will to fight", the court heard.

He had been served notice for tenancy violations including making homophobic comments to staff at the Fircroft Trust charity shop below.

However, Detective Inspector Brian Fitzpatrick, head of the police investigation into Mr Hall’s death, told the inquest that exchanges with neighbours were “minor” and that both parties were “rude to each other”.

Mr Hall had suffered from bipolar disorder in the past and was working with Kingston Council’s mental health team at the time of his death.

Mr Hall’s sister Gillian questioned whether her brother’s “mental fragility” had been considered when issuing the eviction order.

In a statement released after the hearing she said: "While we apportion no blame to any agency we hope the issues raised might contribute towards a review and improvement in the housing department’s policy and procedures when dealing with vulnerable tenants."

Kingston Council’s head of council housing Sue McNally pointed to a fire assessment that ruled bric-a-brac that Mr Hall hoarded posed a safety risk and failure to pay rent as other reasons why he had been served notice.

David Emmett, of Kingston mental health team, told the inquest: "We tried to convince him that if he sorted out some of the issues that had led to the eviction then he would be able to stay.

"He had made efforts to pay the rent he owed and tried to repair relations with neighbours. He had a chance of staying.

"What is hardest is that we were not able to convince Kevin that we could help him through this difficult time."

Coroner Elizabeth Pygott said: "It is quite clear from the fire brigade evidence that he had a can of petrol and matches that he used to effectively set fire to his living room.

"That, coupled with his mental health issues and problems with housing, leads me with only one option, and that sadly is to record the verdict of suicide."