Inquest hears mother set light to herself

Heather Loveridge Credit: PA

A mother-of-four with a history of burning herself was found engulfed in flames on a mental health ward in Peterborough after she set herself alight with a cigarette lighter in her handbag, an inquest heard.

Cambridgeshire's assistant coroner Belinda Cheney said it appeared Heather Loveridge's handbag was not searched on admission to the Cavell Centre mental health unit in Peterborough, and was returned to her.

Mrs Loveridge, 56, of Newmarket, was found ablaze in her bedroom's en-suite toilet within a day of being voluntarily admitted to the ward.

She died two days later on August 19 2016 at Broomfield Hospital, which has a specialist burns unit, in Chelmsford, Essex.

Ms Cheney said that a fire alarm sounded shortly before 8am the next morning, on August 17 2016.

"Staff investigated and found Mrs Loveridge had set fire to herself in the toilet of her bedroom and her hair and clothes were on fire," she said.

Mrs Loveridge was taken to hospital but did not recover from her injuries. "It's accepted that she used her cigarette lighter to set fire to herself," said Ms Cheney.<

Mrs Loveridge's daughter, also called Heather Loveridge, told a jury inquest at Huntingdon Town Hall that her mother had set herself alight in a previous incident.

The inquest, which is estimated to last three days, continues.<