- Nosheen Akhtar, 31, died on July 24, 2021, after being found engulfed in flames
- Ms Akhtar, of Bury, Greater Manchester, claimed her husband set her on fire
- Her spouse, Waqas Mahmood, was arrested by later released without charge
A woman who died of horrific burns after being found engulfed by flames told a paramedic her husband had thrown liquid on her before ‘setting her on fire’, an inquest has heard.
Nosheen Akhtar, 31, also known as Sarah Hussein, died in hospital on July 24 2021, the day after the horrifying incident at her home in Bury, Greater Manchester.
Neighbours had tried to help her after she ran into East Street covered in fire, an inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.
Amy Bradburn, a paramedic who treated Ms Akhtar – described by her loved ones as an ‘angel’ – said she had told her: ‘My husband, he did it.’
Her husband, Waqas Mahmood and two other men were arrested but were later released without charge – with police taking no further action.
Nosheen Akhtar, 31, also known as Sarah Hussein died on July 24, 2021, after being horrifically burnt at her home in Bury, Greater Manchester
Neighbours had tried to help her after she ran into East Street engulfed in flames, an inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard on Monday
Floral tributes were left at the scene with many paying tribute to ‘angel’ Nosheen Akhtar – who later died of her injuries in hospital.
Ms Bradburn said a colleague had earlier informed her Ms Akhtar had ‘poured petrol on herself’. She described Ms Akhtar as having ‘extensive burns’ to her body, with her face being horrifically disfigured by the fire.
Ms Bradburn’s colleague, Duncan Mayoh, recalled Ms Akhtar ‘screaming in agony for us to help her’. While in an ambulance on the way to hospital, he said Ms Akhtar claimed ‘her husband had thrown liquid on her and set her on fire’.
Although she had been given a high dose of morphine, Mr Mayoh said Ms Akhtar did not appear ‘confused’ when she made the claim.
While Ms Akhtar was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital, her husband, Waqas Mahmood, was treated at the scene for several blister burns to his hand.
While tending to Mr Mahmood, paramedic Dominic Wilson said he appeared ‘worked up’ but was ‘co-operative’.
Mr Wilson said: ‘I asked what had happened and he explained that his wife had poured white spirit on herself and set fire to herself.
‘She came into the living room on fire and he set about trying to extinguish the flames using cushions, towels and blankets then picked her up and took her out of the house.’
However, the inquest was told CCTV footage showed Ms Akhtar running out of the property still on fire. She was then followed by Mr Mahmood and his brother. Hasnain Mahmood, who could both be seen using the cushions to try and put the flames out.
Emergency services had been called to the residential East Street in Bury at around 7.30pm on July 24, 2021, where they discovered a 31-year-old woman who had suffered ‘severe’ burns.
Monday’s hearing was told how investigators found two open bottles containing an accelerant when they visited the home, while a lighter was recovered from the living room floor.
Emma Wilson, a fire investigator who examined the scene, said tests showed the accelerant had likely been poured over Ms Akhtar before the back of her tunic was set alight.
She said damage to a sofa and a throw in the living room suggested Ms Akhtar was standing up when her clothing was set alight before sitting down for ‘a matter of seconds’.
Ms Wilson added that either Ms Akhtar or Mr Mahmood could have set the clothing alight, but Ms Akhtar would have had to ‘reach around’ herself in order to do so.
Ms Wilson said: ‘It would seem more likely that the wearer would ignite it in an accessible location. It’s less likely she would reach around to ignite it at the rear.’
Following the incident, police arrested Mr Mahmood, his brother Hasnain Mahmood and Murtaz Safeer, Waqas’ nephew who was present on the night.
However, no further action was taken against the three and they were released without charge, a pre-inquest hearing heard last year.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Ms Akhtar found she had suffered ‘widespread burns to her body’, the inquest heard.
The inquest heard Ms Akhtar told paramedics her husband had ‘set her on fire’. Pictured: Police in East Street, Bury, following the incident
In a statement read out in court, pathologist Dr Philip Lumb gave her cause of death as ‘burns and inhalation of the products of combustion’.
In the months prior to her death, Ms Akhtar, who grew up in Pakistan, had spoken to family and health professionals about problems in her marriage, the inquest heard.
Zaheera Bibi, Ms Akhtar’s mother, said her daughter told her she and Mr Mahmood regularly argued and that she was ‘fed up’ with Mr Mahmood visiting his ex-wife.
Ms Bibi said: ‘She used to ring and cry on the phone. There were so many fights and arguments between them.’
Following a visit to see family in Pakistan in 2020, Ms Bibi said Ms Akhtar started crying and ‘seemed worried’ about returning to the UK.
Ms Bibi added: ‘She wanted to make her marriage successful and she wanted to do whatever she could do to save her marriage.’
The inquest heard Ms Akhtar was taken to hospital in February 2021 after taking an overdose. She told medics she had done so following an argument in which Mr Mahmood threatened to leave her.
Shaista Farzeen, 33, who was one of the first on the scene, says the nightmarish images have been forever imprinted into her memory
Dr Afzal Hussain, Ms Akhtar’s GP, told the inquest that during an appointment the following month, Ms Akhtar claimed she had taken the overdose ‘in frustration’ and accused Mr Mahmood of ‘neglecting and ignoring’ her.
Dr Hussain added: ‘The majority of her issues were related to her husband still seeing his ex-wife and children on an almost daily basis.’
Ms Bibi said she and her daughter spoke on the phone on a daily basis. During a conversation on the afternoon of July 23, she said Ms Akhtar seemed ‘in a happy mood’ and she did not believe she would have set fire to herself.
In a statement read out in court, Ms Akhtar’s family described her as ‘brave’ and ‘good-natured’ but said she ‘kept a lot from the family’.
The statement read: ‘Nosheen did not want to show the family that she was stressed. She was very nice. She used to take care of us like a mother.
‘She had a good nature and used to think of us all while living in the UK. She used to get worried for others and always wanted wanted to do something for them.’
The inquest, which is due to last seven days, continues.