Mid Wales

'Bed-bound' Marianne Taylor died in Cnwch Coch house fire

Aberystwyth Justice Centre

A "bed-bound" woman died in a house fire in Ceredigion, an inquest has heard.

Phillis Marianne Taylor, 81 and known as Marianne, was found dead at her Cnwch Coch home near Aberystwyth on 11 January.

An inquest at Aberystwyth Justice Centre heard how her "brave" friend Caitlin Morse ran into the cottage but was not able to reach Ms Taylor.

Coroner Peter Brunton recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

The inquest on Wednesday was told Ms Taylor had a "bad cigarette habit" and had been warned by her friends about failing to extinguish butts properly - but lived "a bit chaotically" and had not listened.

It heard she also had an electric heater close to her bed, which was surrounded by newspapers, and lit a candle the evening before her death.

Ms Taylor had spent time in a care home for her back pain prior to the incident, but had a "new lease of life" and declined further help, returning to the cottage to live independently with her dog.

But the pain began to return and she had been "bed-bound" the evening before the fire, her friend Diana Buirski said.

'Brave and spirited efforts'

Ms Taylor's close friend and neighbour Ms Morse had gone to visit her at about 10:30 GMT after contacting social services with concerns Ms Taylor's back pain was returning, and spotted smoke coming from the property.

When she opened the door Ms Taylor's dog ran out of the house.

"A lot of smoke came out, I ran down the corridor shouting for her, as I got to her room [the living room] it was full of smoke," she told the inquest.

She went to get clothing to cover her face, but said by the time she got back to the room just seconds later, it was well alight with flames coming from near the bed.

"I knew she'd be on the bed, but I couldn't get through the smoke to pull her out, it was impossible," she said.

David Turner of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it did not appear Ms Taylor had moved from her bed to escape the fire, which he said was as a result of "accidental ignition of combustible materials through careless handling of smoking material".

Mr Brunton said the cause of death was exposure to house fire, adding it was "the proverbial accident waiting to happen" and "surprising something like this didn't happen long ago".

He also praised Ms Morse's "very spirited and brave efforts" to reach Ms Taylor.

Speaking after the inquest Ms Buirski paid tribute to her friend, saying: "She was a wonderful woman and extremely generous in sharing what she had with other people."