A pensioner killed in a fire at his allotment shed was living there because the council wanted to rehouse him some 130-miles away, his nephew has claimed.

Brian Halliday died on March 15, aged 74, when flames tore through the garden shed at Cole Park Allotments, in Crane Avenue, Isleworth, which he called home.

Fellow allotment holders have spoken of their devastation at his tragic end, describing him as a kind and friendly man with a passion for gardening.

His nephew claims the retired builder came to spend his last years sleeping in a wooden shed, surrounded by his seeds, pots and tools, due to a dispute with Hounslow Council.

However, a council spokesman said it had no record of Mr Halliday applying for housing and was unaware he had been living in his shed.

"My uncle was a good man, who was always there when I wanted to talk, and I don't think the council treated him properly," said David Thorn. "He used to live with a lady in Isleworth and when she died of cancer about two or three years ago the council offered him a place in Taunton, Somerset.

"He didn't want to move because all his friends lived around here but the council wouldn't give him any other option, so he started sleeping in the shed.

"He may have owed council tax but that's no way to end your life. He didn't deserve that."

'Proud man'

A council spokesman said: "We are sad to hear of Mr Halliday's death and we would like to extend our condolences to his friends and family.

"We have searched our records and as far as we are able to confirm, he had made no application for housing. We are also unaware that he was living in a shed."

Mr Thorn said he believed his uncle had always lived in or around Isleworth, and used to reside at Kirkstone Lodge, Isleworth, with his late wife Brenda. He urged his uncle's brother, Mick, or any other relatives to get in touch via


A friend of Mr Halliday's, who asked not to be named, said he had told her the same story of how he came to be living in his shed. She said if there was any truth to the tale it was a "disgraceful" way to treat an elderly man.

"He was a lovely man," she said. "I used to talk to him when we were walking our dogs in Redlees Park and he would tell me what he'd been up to on his allotment.

"I only heard last October that he was living in his shed. People tried to help but he was a proud man.

"No one should be living on an allotment, let alone someone in their 70s. It's disgraceful."

The woman said she was looking after Mr Halliday's dog, a West Highland white terrier named Barney, on whom he had doted, and the pooch was going to live with her relatives in Cambridge.

Mr Thorn said he understood the council was taking care of funeral arrangements for his late uncle, whose death is being treated by police as unexplained.