A WOMAN who died of horrific burns after running onto the street on fire screamed that her husband "did it", an inquest 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, Manchester.
Locals had tried to help her after she ran into East Street engulfed in flames, an inquest at Rochdale Coroner's Court heard.
Nosheen's husband Waqas Mahmood and two other men were arrested but were later released without charge – with police taking no further action.
Nosheen, who grew up in Pakistan, had previously confided in family and health professionals about problems in her marriage.
The inquest also heard from Shamin Ahmed, a neighbour who tried to help Ms Akhtar after she ran into the street engulfed in flames.
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While attempting to assist her, Ms Ahmed said she asked Ms Akhtar: “Why did you do this to yourself?”
Ms Ahmed added: “She said ‘I have done this due to Waqas. He was having an affair’.”
Ifra Farooq, Mr Mahmood’s sister-in-law, told the inquest she had "snatched" a lighter from Ms Akhtar after she threatened to "burn herself" earlier that evening.
She said she saw Ms Akhtar "screaming" and on fire while Mr Mahmood and her husband Hasnain Mahmood tried to put out the flames out with cushions and a blanket.
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Mr Mahmood then picked up Ms Akhtar and carried her out into the street, according to Farooq.
However, the inquest was told CCTV footage showed Ms Akhtar running out of the property still on fire.
Niamh Nolan, the first paramedic on scene, said she arrived to find police officers and members of the public throwing water over Ms Akhtar, who had "significant injuries" to her face, chest and arms.
“I asked her why she was covered in petrol,” said Ms Nolan. “Her response was ‘my husband bought it’.”
While lying on a stretcher in the back of the ambulance, Ms Nolan said Ms Akhtar told her "he poured it, he did it".
Ms Nolan then went to check on Mr Mahmood, who was sitting on a kitchen chair surrounding by firefighters.
The paramedic said a firefighter told her Mr Mahmood had carried his wife out of the house while she was on fire.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Ms Akhtar found she had suffered "widespread burns to her body", the inquest heard.
The court was also told that Nosheen could have set herself on fire.
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
The inquest also heard about an incident in February 2021- five months before Nosheen's death – when she was taken to hospital after an overdose.
Paramedic Lisa Wright attended the incident at Ms Akhtar’s home.
Wright said she and a colleague were greeted by Ms Akhtar's husband, Waqas Mahmood, who told them he had found his wife unresponsive in bed.
The paramedic said that while Mr Mahmood was out of the room, Nosheen told her she had taken the overdose as her husband had threatened to divorce her.
“She told us her husband was going to divorce her the next day and take back his wife then she would be thrown out of the property,” said Ms Wright.
“She said she had no money, support or place to live."
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She added that Ms Akhtar had said she "did not know what to do" as she had no money and was "totally reliant" on Mr Mahmood.
“She didn’t feel she had anywhere else to turn to,” she added. “She was very isolated.”
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