A WOMAN who witnessed her former partner die in flames after dousing himself in petrol has spoken of her distress and shock.
Pat Dunne died despite frantic efforts by friends and neighbours to save his life. They used buckets of water and towels to try to put out the flames that engulfed the 42-year-old around 6.20pm on Tuesday in the Townspark housing estate in Navan, Co Meath.
His ex-partner Nikita Campbell said she was "distraught" and "shaken" after the shocking event, which was witnessed by a number of young children who were playing nearby.
Ms Campbell could only look on in horror as Mr Dunne, who was from Kells, Co Meath, covered himself in petrol outside the front window of her home.
"I was in the sitting room when it happened, so I saw everything. The curtains and the window were open and he knocked on the other side of the window and just said 'I love you' and started putting petrol all over himself," Nikita Campbell told the Irish Independent at her home in Navan, Co Meath.
"He then sat on the ground, lit the lighter and as quick as it was lit it was over and done with. He was just screaming and bawling.
"He poured so much on his head. It was still pouring when he sat down and used his other hand to light it.
"It didn't last long, it was over in a blink of an eye. I rang 999, but I didn't know who you ring when something like that happens.
"I was telling the kids to get away from the window because everyone on the street was screaming. There were kids on the street so everyone saw it. There were kids looking out their bedroom windows.
"Everyone tried to help him but the flames were unbelievable. I honestly think if there was a fire brigade outside my home at the time, they couldn't have helped him.
"We were together for three years but were separated nearly a year. I had no contact with him and there was nothing to suggest he was going to end his life.
"It was like his mind was made up. It's like a horror movie and I want someone to wake me up."
Neighbours frantically poured water over the man in what proved to be a fruitless attempt to save his life. "It was the most shocking thing I've ever seen," said a witness.
"I ran so fast over to him after being told he was on fire. Other neighbours came out and we poured buckets of water over him.
"But he was gone within seconds. The petrol just destroyed his face and body."
By the time the fire brigade and ambulance arrived Mr Dunne had already suffered severe burns. He was pronounced dead in hospital.