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Kentford: Fire in Gazeley Road may have been started by Anne Guinle as ‘cry for help’

19:29 15 January 2014

Inquest into Anne Guinle

Inquest into Anne Guinle's death after a fire at her home

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A husband desperately tried to save his wife from their burning home which she had set alight, an inquest has heard.

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Today’s inquest into the death of Anne Guinle, 50, heard she died on February 8, 2013, after inhaling fumes from the fire at Langtry Annexe in Gazeley Road, Kentford.

As well as the persistent attempts of her husband Hilton to get her to safety, staff from nearby seed factory, Mr Fothergill’s, also did all they could to try and save Mrs Guinle.

The inquest, which was held in Bury St Edmunds, heard she had suffered from psychiatric problems, which she had received support for from healthcare professionals.

It was believed she had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a serious road accident about three years ago.

A bus she was travelling in was hit by a large truck cutting it in half.

The inquest also heard she had previously set fire to papers at her home.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean recorded a narrative verdict, saying it was more likely her death was an accidental outcome of her actions rather than an intentional act to take her own life.

He said: “This could essentially have been an accidental outcome to a cry for help which had tragically gone wrong.

“It is clear, though, her husband did what he could in these very difficult circumstances to get her out of the premises, but she said she wanted to stay until the fire service attended.”

It was believed Mrs Guinle, who had worked as a product demonstrator, had set fire to clothing on the floor of her bedroom.

Her husband thought he could put the blaze out himself, but it had spread and thick smoke filled the building.

After calling the fire service, he returned to his wife’s bedroom - the couple had been sleeping in separate rooms - in an attempt to persuade her to leave the burning building.

Managing director David Carey was one of those who attempted to rescue the occupants.

On leaving the property without his wife, staff at the factory took Mr Guinle into the reception area where he said he had been unable to save her.

Dr Dean said the factory staff “acted very bravely” to try and help the couple.

Referring to the help Mrs Guinle had received from healthcare professionals, Dr Dean said what happened on the day of the fire was not expected by anyone.

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