Suffolk

Lidgate explosion: Woman died in fire days after mum's death

Bungalow damaged by gas explosion Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption Aerial pictures showed the extent of the damage at the house

A woman killed herself two days after her mother's death by setting the family house on fire, an inquest heard.

Pamela Tierney, 78, and Julie Tierney, 50, were found lying on a bed together following an explosion at their home in Lidgate near Newmarket, Suffolk.

Fire inspectors ruled the fire was deliberate but said the explosion on 7 May was an unintended consequence.

Mrs Tierney died from cancer and Ms Tierney from inhalation of fire fumes, it was concluded.

The inquest at Suffolk Coroner's Court heard both women were "reclusive" and "rarely seen".

Ms Tierney had been her mother's carer and in October 2018 Mrs Tierney was diagnosed with a type of terminal bowel cancer.

A letter sent to Mrs Tierney's sister from Julie stated "Ma died naturally on 5 May", two days before the explosion, the inquest heard.

Image caption The mother and daughter were found in a bedroom of the property

Ms Tierney's sister, Jane Wakefield, said in a letter her sister was "a loving and dedicated daughter" and she believed her "world fell apart and... she probably felt she had no future" after their mother's death.

Fire investigator Conrad Burgess told the inquest an accelerant had been found used throughout the bungalow.

The explosion was caused by an "impossible to replicate" mixture of accelerant fumes and oxygen in the air when the fire started, he said.

The fire had been "rapid" and "caused complete devastation" of the home, the inquest was told.

Image copyright Terry-Harris.com
Image caption The fire "completely devastated the house"

The inquest heard Ms Tierney had previously been treated for mental health concerns.

Senior coroner for Suffolk, Nigel Parsley, concluded Mrs Tierney died from a natural progression of her illness and Ms Tierney committed suicide.

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