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Amberley woman died before cottage fire

  • 8-5-2015

A woman who was found dead in her West Sussex home after a fire died of natural causes before the blaze took hold, tests have shown.

Elisabeth Belcher, 70, was found in a smoke-logged living room in her thatched cottage in Amberley on 5 June.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it was thought the fire in the cottage in Hog Lane was started accidentally by smoking materials.

Mrs Belcher was known to be a heavy smoker, the fire service said.

Fire investigation officer Richard Bradley said: "My assumption is that she was smoking at the time of her death, dropping the cigarette on either her clothing or the armchair she was sitting in."

He said immobile smokers or those caring for them were advised to buy smoking cloaks which can prevent clothing catching fire.

Mrs Belcher's family have been told about the toxicology test results.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC


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