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Telford fire tragedy a cry for help, inquest told

Telford | News | Published:

A woman died weeks after she set herself alight at her Telford home, an inquest heard.

Rosemary Petula Martin, 64, walked into her garden and poured petrol on her torso before she "ignited herself" using a cigarette lighter.

Emergency services rushed to the address in Glebelands, High Ercall, on June 13, where Mrs Martin had been with her husband David and their two children. She died on September 4 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Her cause of death was an anoxic brain injury caused by an extensive burn injury, which covered more than half of her body.

Mr John Ellery, coroner for Shropshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death at Telford Register Office yesterday.

He said: "Without warning or indication Mrs Martin went outside and appears to have poured petrol on herself from her husband's petrol can before she ignited herself with a cigarette lighter.

"I cannot presume that she intended to kill herself. It was an unintended accident from a deliberate act."

Family members attended the inquest, where a statement from Mrs Martin's family was read aloud.

Mr Ellery read: "We believe it was a cry for help. She knew that we would be nearby to put out the fire. Shortly after the fire had been put out she asked: 'Are they coming?' and 'Why did they take so long?' Most of her burns were to her torso."

The inquest was told that Mrs Martin had a history of mental health issues and a complaint would be submitted by her family to mental health services in Shropshire.

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