'Perfect wife' died after months of indignity following fire

, Credit: ,

The 72nd victim of the Grenfell Tower fire, Maria del Pilar Burton, died after months of indignity and distress, an inquiry has heard.

Known as Pily she died in January, seven months after the disaster, having suffered a stroke.

On the second day of the inquiry into the disaster, her husband of 34 years, Nicholas Burton, reflected with wit and warmth on their time together.Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick was told by counsel Bernard

Richmond QC that there were "many victims of the fire" and the inquiry was "pleased and honoured" to commemorate her life.

Mr Burton said his Spanish wife was widely loved in north Kensington and had a passion for music, dancing, fashion and cooking.

"She talked to everybody, and I mean everybody," he said."If she got into a lift, by the time she got out she knew everybody's name and their family history."

He described his wife as "magnetic", "flamboyant" and "wonderful".

She was one of the first people to move into Grenfell Tower and was the only tenant to live in her flat, he said.

The couple met in 1984 at a disco and, "sock by sock", Mr Burton moved into the flat as their relationship developed."My mother asked 'where are all your clothes?', and I explained 'I have a girlfriend - and she's around your age'," Mr Burton joked.

Eventually they bought the Grenfell Tower flat together in 1994 and were leaseholders.

In 2015, Mrs Burton was diagnosed with dementia following a memorable trip across Europe.

The refurbishment of the tower block that followed signalled her slow decline, Mr Burton said.