Mary (80) died in house fire

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An elderly woman died in her bed after smoking materials caused a house fire at her home in Sutterton.

Mary Cook was found slumped in her bed when her neighbour went in to feed the woman’s pet dog and cat.

Coroner Robert Forrest recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying she was killed by the noxious gases rising from the fire, caused by the misuse of smoking materials.

He said: “It’s amazing how quickly fire gases can incapacitate a person.”

Miss Cook (80), of Dowdyke Lane, Sutterton, had been bed-bound for some time, the inquest was told, and neighbour David Wigston went over to the house to help her with tasks. June 28 was the same as usual.

Mr Wigston said: “I opened the back door and I could smell smoke. I knew there was something wrong. I went to the room and I could see everything was covered in soot. Mary was slumped over, and I knew she was dead because I could see her side and she wasn’t moving.”

An investigation showed the fire had started at the bottom of the bed.

Fire investigation officer Stephen Wright said: “We found quite a few smoking materials on the scene, both homemade cigarettes and packets of Rizla papers and hand-rolling tobacco. The only ignition source we found was matches.”