QUESTIONS have been raised over how a man was able to use his flat as a ‘car workshop’ and cause a deadly explosion.

Residents of Gibbs Crescent in West Oxford continued to demand answers as to why Guido Schuette was never challenged on his behaviour by housing provider A2 Dominion in the run up to his death in the Valentines Day blast last year.

Witnesses at Mr Schuette’s inquest on Wednesday repeatedly stressed their shock at the state of his number 5 flat, describing it as ‘more like a workshop than a place of residence’.

Petrol fumes ignited by accident was found to be the most likely cause of the explosion which destroyed three of the flats and damaged several others.

A2 Dominion admitted none of its staff had visited for ‘quite some time’ because Mr Schuette had acted aggressively towards them in the past.

Councillor Susanna Pressel, who represents the area and attended the inquest, said: “I was shocked to hear about the state of his flat.

“People are not allowed to use their social housing property as a workshop, especially one that is so cluttered that it clearly constitutes a fire hazard, and where he is storing large quantities of petrol and diesel.

“It must also have been very noisy for his neighbours if he was doing metalwork in his flat.”

Various car parts were kept inside the building with fire station manager Bob Speakman saying he thought he had seen ‘everything except an engine’.

Police and mental health professionals who had been inside the flat in the days before the explosion reported the clutter as a fire risk but did not remember seeing or smelling petrol.

Mr Schuette, 46, was contacted on various occasions by A2 Dominion over unpaid rent and noise complaints but the housing provider said it had no knowledge of fire safety concerns or the ways in which he had used the flat.

Speaking at the hearing Dawn Wightman, the company’s Director of Housing, explained that because of the aggressive behaviour, Mr Schuette was always invited to their office for meetings and staff were instructed to only speak to him with a colleague present.

Checks were not regularly made inside residents' flats, according to Ms Wightman.

Annie May, who lived in Flat 7 said she had no idea what had been going on in the flat underneath her and was ‘amazed’ that nothing had ever been done about it.

Mother-of-two Habiba Gudal who was forced to move away from Gibbs Crescent due to the damage to her flat said: “Nobody understood what was going on in that building.

“It makes you think about what else could be going on where you live.

“I do not mix with my new neighbours at all, I don’t want to know who they are or what they are doing.”

A2 Dominion did not respond to specific questions about the state of the flat but, in a general statement, Ms Wightman said she hoped the inquest had provided some answers for residents, particularly Mr Schuette’s family and friends.

She added: “Since the explosion, we ensured all residents requiring a new home were rehoused and that anyone needing practical or emotional support was offered it.

“Our focus now is on continuing to support the residents of Gibbs Crescent and moving forward with our plans to restore and improve the estate.”

The company demolished the remains of the damaged flats late last year and said it is due to submit a pre-application shortly that outlines its plans for the redevelopment of the area.