Gillian Dudley-Smith died after car arson, inquest told

The Orchards, Hightown, Wrexham The incident happened on Mrs Dudley-Smith's driveway in November 2012

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A retired teacher collapsed and died after calling the emergency services when she awoke to find her car had been set on fire by vandals in Wrexham.

The coroner said the death of Gillian Dudley-Smith, 78, was "tragic", compounded by the fact that criminal acts had played a part.

She never regained consciousness after suffering a stroke at her home at Caia Park in November 2012.

Two youths were arrested by police but not charged, the inquest heard.

Recording a narrative conclusion, North East Wales Coroner John Gittins said: "It is probable that the overall stress of the incident contributed to the development of the condition which led to her death."

Eric Dudley-Smith, a former vice-principal of a community college, told the hearing that he and his wife were awoken at 04:00 GMT by taxi driver David Taylor who told them the front of their car was in flames on their driveway.

'Stress'

Mrs Dudley-Smith, a grandmother and regular churchgoer, called the fire service but a few minutes later slumped to the ground, having suffered a stroke.

She was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital but died.

A post mortem examination found that Mrs Dudley-Smith died of a stroke but she had suffered from hypertension.

Pathologist Dr Paul Johnson said the stress of being awakened and the arson attack could have played a part.

The coroner said he had received a report from North Wales Police that two teenagers aged 13 and 15 had been arrested in connection with the incident but both had claimed to be at home at the time.

He said: "Following extensive investigations the decision was made that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them."

Mr Gittins said there had been a number of arson attacks in which the same method - setting fire to the number plate - had been used.

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