Open verdict after OAP died of burns to body

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A paramedic told an inquest how she had to tackle an elderly woman to the floor after she found her on fire in her front garden.

The inquest into the death of June Middleton, from Harborough Road in Northampton, was held at Northampton General Hospital on Tuesday (February 25).

Mrs Middleton was 76-years-old when she died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on March 14 last year.

At her inquest, the paramedic said she was called to Mrs Middleton’s home at about 9am on March 13 and when she arrived saw her standing on some grass in front of her home on fire, with three very shocked neighbours standing nearby.

The paramedic said she shouted several times for Mrs Middleton to drop to the floor in a bid to put out the smouldering flames, but was ignored.

She added: “I decided to tackle her to the floor. I put my hands on her shoulders and swept her legs from underneath her. I burned my thumbs on her burning clothes.

“I managed to get her to roll to put out the flames and she kept telling me to phone her husband.”

Other paramedics called to the scene said Mrs Middleton was awake and answering questions throughout the ordeal. She told the paramedics she had accidentally set her clothes alight while using the oven.

Mrs Middleton was taken to Northampton Hospital and afterwards Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham but she died the following day. She had burns to 50 per cent of her body.

The inquest was told that Mrs Middleton had made attempts to end her own life in the past, but her son Stephen said these had usually been overdoses of medication and she would not do anything as dramatic as setting fire to herself.

He added: “It would have been so far out of her character to do that.

“She was feeling very low shortly before she died, but this was more because of physical ailments rather than anything mental.”

Coroner Anne Pember recorded an open verdict.