Norwich inquest told of tragic death of pensioner in fire at her home in Burston, near Diss

An inquest has heard how Norfolk pensioner Pearl Stebbings, 79, died in a fire at her home in Burston, near Diss, on April 22 last year.

Today's Norwich inquest was told that Mrs Stebbings suffered from dementia, could not walk without using a frame and was also a heavy smoker.

She was given a pendant push-button alarm to wear that connected to a call centre, in case of emergencies, but she was not wearing it at the time, although a smoke detector was fitted to her home and was working.

Mrs Stebbings had been diagnosed by a mental health nurse just days before her death as lacking the capacity to be living alone at the semi-detached bungalow, which was owned by Saffron Housing Trust.

She was about to be transferred to a residential care home but died in the fire before she could be moved.


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The inquest was told that the likeliest cause of the blaze at Mrs Stebbing's home was a lighted cigarette that fell from her hand.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a verdict of death as a result of an accidental fire at home while suffering from dementia.

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