THE family of a Burnley man who died after dousing himself in petrol, during a four-hour stand-off, have questioned why they were not allowed to talk to him.

But Lancashire Police have insisted they feared an explosion might have engulfed Martin Boyle and the surrounding neighbourhood during a siege at his Emily Street home, Burnley Wood, in February 2010.

Burnley Coroner’s Court heard Mr Boyle, 40, was armed, at various times, with a stun gun, hand-axe, large knife and BB gun during the confrontation.

He was also soaked in petrol and was seen flicking the wheel of a lighter, threatening to ignite the fumes.

Neighbour Danny Preston was also present, attempting to calm him.

And he informed Insp Phil Hutchinson, the first officer on the scene: “Come anywhere near me and boom, we all go.”

Insp Hutchinson said it was ‘impossible’ to prevent Mr Boyle returning to his home and he feared for the safety of everyone in the vicinity, due to the ‘overpowering’ smell of petrol.

An inquest heard that nearby homes were evacuated and a cordon placed around the terrace street.

The court was told Mr Boyle, who feared his wife was going to leave him, had also been drinking heavily.

Four hours into the incident, a police tracker dog was sent into the property and it was established he was unconscious.

Mr Boyle was handcuffed and taken from the property, and placed on a stretcher, the inquest heard. The cuffs were then removed.

But he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

His blood alcohol level was four-and-three-quarters the legal driving limit and he had taken anti-depressants.

Home Office pathologist Dr Naomi Carter gave the cause of death as ‘acute alcohol toxicity enhanced by citalopram’ (an anti-depressant).

Giving evidence, his wife Shirley Boyle said their relationship had been under strain as her grandmother and grandson had been hospitalised and Mr Boyle felt he was constantly being put ‘second’.

She said she repeatedly asked to speak to him during the stand-off and she was sure he had not intended to hurt himself.

Mr Boyle’s father, Martin ‘Monty’ Boyle, was later asked to talk to his son by a police negotiator but they received no reply.

“I know that if I could have spoken to Martin earlier I could have talked him out of the situation,” he added.

The inquest is expected to last four days.