Mentally-ill mum-of-two died from 90 per cent burns after setting herself alight outside primary school

A Mansfield mother-of-two died from 90 per cent burns after she doused herself in white spirit and set fire to herself in public, an inquest heard today (February 16).

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 1:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 1:40 pm

Troubled Vanessa Lucas-Heathorn (pictured) was heard shouting for help on a patch of land behind Stow Court in Mansfield Woodhouse in June last year, just yards from a primary school.

Passers-by rang for an ambulance while a nearby council gardener sprayed her with more than 90 litres of water until paramedics arrived.

The 44-year-old told them that she had done it to herself. She died in hospital in Birmingham hours later.

During the first morning of her inquest held at Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court, it was heard her mental health had deteriorated in the 12 months before her death.

She had been a voluntary patient at Millbrook mental health unit in Mansfield, and was candid about wanting to end her life.

The coroners’ court was told how just days before, Ms Lucas-Heathorn had attempted to take her own life by setting fire to her home on Valley View, Mansfield.

However, she jumped from a first floor window to escape the flames.

She was taken to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre for treatment and subsequently arrested on suspicion of arson.

During interview she candidly told police that she had nothing to live for and wanted to die.

It was recommended by the police that she be charged and detained for her own safety.

However, during an appearance at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court she was instead bailed to her parents’ address.

A mental health crisis team had been looking for a bed at Millbrook so she could return there.

The inquest continues.