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The Northwich Guardian
8:10am Wednesday 24th September 2008
By Hayley Collins
A DEPRESSED father torched himself to death in a fire just months after his daughter suffered a similar fate, an inquest has heard.
The inquest heard how Daniel Taylor – father of tragic fire victim Chloe Taylor – deliberately started the blaze in the garage of his mother’s home in Middlewich on the afternoon of February 11.
Just five months earlier, four-year-old Chloe died after accidentally setting her school dress alight with a cigarette lighter at her mother’s home in Greenall Road, Northwich.
Speaking at the inquest Daniel’s mother, Miriam, said her 27-year-old son, had started drinking heavily following his daughter’s death.
“He was drinking before but when that happened to her he just lost all sense,” she said.
“He was soul destroyed. He lost the plot and got very depressed. He tried to get help – we all tried to help him.”
Daniel had moved back home to Middlewich after separating from Katie Bland, the mother of his four children.
The weekend before the fire that claimed his life unemployed Daniel had told his mother he was staying with friends so she had locked the house up and gone to stay with her partner.
Daniel, who was on medication for depression and had been drinking heavily, is believed to have shut himself in the garage and started the blaze with either lighter fluid or petrol.
Fire Officer Steve Flanagan said fire investigators had found two plastic fuel containers, a lighter fluid container and an aerosol canister among the debris in the garage.
He said: “The fire started by ignition of a flammable vapour in the garage. It was obvious that there had been a very severe fire and it was very quick burning.”
Passers by managed to drag Daniel from the burning inferno after responding to his screams for help.
Mike Watts, of Hereford Way, was the first on the scene.
“I heard a man screaming for help from the garage,” he said.
“I kicked the door and that’s when I saw Daniel. He was on fire and I couldn’t really get to him.”
Daniel was taken by ambulance to Leighton Hospital. In the paramedics’ report he had told them he had set fire to himself.
He later told consultant Dr Paul Knowles he had been in the garage alone and had started the fire himself.
Daniel suffered third degrees burns to 50 per cent of his body including his legs, hands, face and groin.
He died from his injuries on February 12.
Deputy coroner Dr Janet Napier ruled that Daniel had taken his own life when he was not in a stable frame of mind.