THE couple who live in the house on whose driveway a man died in a blazing van say they did not know him.

The man and woman, who are believed to be retired, spoke to the Daily Echo yesterday as they tried to come to terms with the tragedy that happened on their doorstep.

An elderly woman, who answered the door of the detached house in Donnington Drive, Chandler’s Ford, said: “I am not going to say anything. I don’t know much yet, I’m just praying to my God. I don’t know who the man was. My daughter is in shock.”

An elderly man who returned to the address said he had been in hospital. He was taken by ambulance shortly after the fire erupted.

Police said he had been taken ill but it was not directly related to the fire.

He said: “We had been asleep inside the house. I saw just the fire going out.”

Police are investigating how and why the man came to die in the Citroen Berlingo van in the early hours of Sunday.

He has yet to be formally identified, a police spokeswoman said last night. It is unclear when an inquest into his death will open.

Police say they are not treating the death as suspicious and no arrests have been made.

The incident has shocked the quiet community.

Neighbours said the couple, thought to be called Singh, had lived in the road for many years and were visited regularly by at least two grown-up children, a man and a woman.

They spoke of a considerate family, who would pass the time of day.

Graham Mason, 70, who lives next door, said he had heard music blaring and then an explosion before the grim discovery.

He said: “I looked out the window and saw the flames coming up from the van. I got dressed and went to use water but by that time the fire brigade were here.”

Mr Mason added that he had not been aware until the following day that there was a person in the van.

He said: “I just wish I’d moved quicker, I don’t know what to say.”