Accidental Death Verdict At Inquest Of Island Woman

Porthcressa Flats

Porthcressa Flats

The coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest of an islands’ woman who died following a house fire last year.

Maureen Widdup, who was 65 and known locally as ‘Mo,’ was rescued from the fire at 6 Porthcressa Flats in the early hours of 5th August 2012.

Her husband of 25 years, Dennis, had returned home from a night shift at the Co-op to find the property filled with smoke.

He tried to reach Mo, who was in an upstairs bedroom, but was beaten back by the smoke.

Fire fighters wearing breathing apparatus eventually pulled Mrs Widdup from the house.

She was flown to a specialist burns unit at Frenchay hospital in Bristol, where she underwent skin grafts, but sadly died from her injuries on 14th August.

The cause of death was registered as smoke inhalation and burns.

The Isles of Scilly Coroner, Mr Ian Arrow, heard statements from St Mary’s fire fighters who said the rescue was hampered by rubbish and debris in the flat, which reached several feet high in places.

Sergeant Colin Taylor of St Mary’s Police said there were no suspicious circumstances to the fire and the evidence suggested that a discarded cigarette was the cause.

When asked if anything could be learnt from this case, Scilly’s Chief Fire Officer Steve Webster said everyone should have a good ‘close down’ routine when going to bed in the evening as well as discarding cigarettes carefully.

Mo was born on the islands and lived most of her life here. She was a well-known figure in the community and often helped out at Park House by sitting with the elderly residents.