Gran died setting light to paper

Detective Inspector Gareth Willis who investigated the death
Detective Inspector Gareth Willis who investigated the death
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An elderly grandmother who died from horrific burns after setting personal papers alight in her home was only discovered days later.

Pasqualina Blackburn, an 81-year-old widow, was overcome by flames in the blaze which happened in September 2012 in the breakfast room of her terraced home on New Hall Lane, Fishwick, Preston.

But the fire extinguished itself and no-one was alerted until her son Robert found her body a few days later, an inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court heard.

It is believed the retired supervisor, who was born in Italy in 1932, had been burning papers in a crystal bowl on her dining table.

Giving evidence to the inquest, watch manager Tony Ashworth, of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “At some point she has dropped a piece of paper possibly onto her lap, that paper has then caught her nightie and dressing gown.

“She has stood up and the fire intensified, which has caused her other clothing to catch fire.”

Det Insp Gareth Willis, of Lancashire police, said a thorough investigation had been carried out and third party involvement had been ruled out.

Consultant pathologist Dr Jane Edwards told the court Mrs Blackburn had been a “relatively fit lady” but had suffered 95 per cent burns, which were her cause of death.

Deputy coroner Simon Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death and expressed his condolences to members of her family, who attended the hearing.