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A man has admitted killing his partner and then setting fire to his flat after hearing his victim was diagnosed as HIV positive.

Hairdresser Ashley Gillard, 31, was discovered after the blaze in the third-floor property in Wolverton, Milton Keynes on 8 June.

Thomas White, 26, failed to help his partner in his dying moments and later set fire to the body before barricading the the front door and fleeing by using a rope tied to a balcony as the apartment blazed behind. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

Luton Crown Court heard White “flew into a rage”, before returning to the flat several days later in an attempt to destroy the body and any evidence.

The court heard the pair had been taking illegal drugs, including GHB, and Mr Gillard had probably died on 5 June.

A post-mortem examination could not identify a definitive cause of death, but it confirmed Mr Gillard was dead before the fire started.

Graham Smith, prosecuting counsel, said: “The defendant was furious and got into a rage and turned the flat upside down trying to find medications that would confirm what he had been told.

“He was later to tell his brother that he knew his friend needed medical attention but he did not help him, and put a duvet over him to shut him up.

“He said at that moment he hated him and wished him gone.”

White also pleaded guilty to 10 other charges including arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, theft, fraud and possession of Class B and C drugs.

Judge Richard Foster confirmed he would adjourn sentencing for three weeks to allow a senior probation officer to carry out an assessment.

(Photo of Ashley Gillard: INS News Agency)

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