A FORMER civil servant deliberately started a house fire which lead to her death from carbon monoxide poisoning, an inquest heard.

But Blackburn coroner Michael Singleton ruled Pamela Leiluga may have engineered the blaze, at her home in Greenfield Avenue, Chatburn, so the property would be rendered uninhabitable and she would have to move out.


An open conclusion was recorded by Mr Singleton on the 45-year-old, who was found in the front bedroom of the terraced house on October 24.

Fire investigators told the hearing in Clitheroe newspapers and magazines had been piled up in the hallway of the otherwise ‘tidy’ house and set alight with a match, with cooking oil and paint thinner apparently added.

Mr Singleton said: “I cannot totally discount the possibility that her intention had been that the fire would render the home at Chatburn uninhabitable so that alternative arrangements would have been needed to accommodate her.

“While I believe it is likely that this was an attempt on her own life, I cannot be satisfied so as to be sure so the only conclusion open to me is an open conclusion.”

Mrs Leiluga had been suffering from depression since at least 2013 and is thought to have made previous attempts on her own life, the court heard.

Her marriage, to company director Thomas Leiluga from Darwen, had broken down, before an attempted overdose in 2013, and she had been deeply affected by the death of her mother from cancer, according to her community mental health co-ordinator Karen Ritson.

She had only engaged ‘sporadically’ with mental health services, said Mrs Ritson in a statement, but had a review meeting planned on the day of her death.

Mrs Leiluga’s father, Wilfred Hustwaite, told the hearing she had been staying at his home in Kendal, with his partner Edna, until July 2015.

He said: “She was doing quite well when she was with us.

"Edna and I play a lot of whist and dominoes and she was going out with us.

"She was also working for a few hours in a charity shop.”

But she moved back to Chatburn, on the advice of mental health support staff, though Mr Hustwaite, who regularly visited the house, was concerned she was not looking after herself properly.

Neighbours alerted the fire service, reporting that the house was ablaze, and Mrs Leiluga was seen in an upstairs window.

She was found unresponsive in a front bedroom after the hallway fire was tackled.