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Woman kills own husband in hairdryer accident

A BEAUTICIAN who accidentally set fire to her husband by leaving a hot hairdryer on his bed has spoken of her horror and heartbreak following an inquest into his death.

Bina Dawett Joshi left the dryer, which was still plugged in, smouldering under the fabric, creating a freak blaze which killed husband Ram Kumar, 57.

Fire crews wearing breathing gear battled in vain to rescue Mr Joshi from the huge house fire in Wolverhampton, after neighbours raised the alarm on February 11 this year.

Mrs Joshi told the inquest she had left her husband of three years sound asleep after he had returned home drunk at around 7.30pm.

She had attended a charity evening at nearby Woodfield School and had gone for a curry afterwards, when a neighbour got in touch and broke the tragic news by phone.

Coroner Robin Balmain recorded that her husband had died as a result of an accident.

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Joshi told a local newspaper: "I miss him and I haven't been the same since. I don't even feel like living in this country any more. Everything here reminds me of him. I miss cooking for him; I haven't cooked properly since he died."

Both she and her husband had children from previous relationships. She told the inquest at Walsall Manor Hospital: "He was very friendly, charming, outgoing and he loved his drink."

Mr Balmain heard Mr Joshi, who liked drinking whisky, had returned home after watching a football match at the Bruford Arms in Penn Fields. Although he had not been behind the wheel, he was around three-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit.

Mrs Joshi had dried her hair before embarking on a night out. She was at Balti Palace in Merry Hill, Wolverhampton, when she received the phone call telling her what had happened.

She said: "I didn't smell any fumes - I did switch the hairdryer off but I didn't unplug it at the wall."

She added she may have left clothes or a towel on top of the dryer.

Fire investigator Nigel Adams said Mr Joshi, who had previously run storage and packaging firms, had been found by firefighters on the landing but, despite the efforts of paramedics, could not be revived.

He said fragments of towel were found attached to the badly burnt dryer and added: "By covering the hair dryer up, it doesn't allow for any ventilation at all."

Mr Balmain said Mr Joshi had died of cardio-respiratory arrest due to carbon monoxide poisoning, resulting from smoke inhalation.

He added Mr Joshi had eventually become aware of the fire but too late to save himself.

The coroner said: "Any appliance shouldn't simply be switched off at the appliance. It should be switched off at the mains."