Home   Thanet   News   Article

Inquest: Julia Brown dies in Rectory Road, Broadstairs after cigarette fire

By Jodie Nesling

A Broadstairs mum tragically after died after a lit cigarette caught fire in a wicker basked used to store logs in her front room, an inquest was told.

Fire crews were called to Rectory Road at around 6pm on January 8 after neighbours saw smoke coming from the building.

Julia Brown who lived with her partner of four years, David Drury, was found downstairs in the lounge where she was declared dead at the scene.

Julia Brown (2041195)
Julia Brown (2041195)

The former lighting designer had earlier been visited by an estate agent to value her property.

In a statement read out by the coroner, Mandy Morgan described how she came to view the home and found Mrs Brown to be vacant and detached.

She said: "Julia gave one word answers to questions I was asking, she wanted to move back to London because she loved the theatre and I came to value the house.

"She appeared vacant and not with it. I asked her to show me around but she remained in the living room."

The inquest heard how Mrs Brown who suffered from bipolar disorder and ADHD had earlier gone to a newsagent to buy cigarettes and pick up medication.

Richard Chamberlain owner at Victory Newsagents says she was a regular customer and noticed that she seemed "away with the fairies" but during her visit in the afternoon had been chatting amicably with neighbour, Sue Evans.

The inqueste heard how In 2013 the mother-of-one was hit by a Vespa scooter which caused her to lose her senses of smell and taste.

Close friend and artist Marin Cheek said her health deteriorated rapidly after the incident saying "she was a nervous wreck".

Beforehand Mrs Brown appeared bubbly and enthusiastic and enjoyed Mr Cheek's art classes but was unable to participate as much due to a decline in her motor skills.

Daughter Isadora Brown told the inquest that her mother had been staying near her for several months at her home in Dudley and that she had also noticed a decline in her health.

"We used to smoke outside but when it got to November she suggested going indoors and would say 'let's go inside'" - David Drury

She said: "She (Julia) did not seem very well mentally and physically - she was not great and not as well as she had been.

"On Christmas Eve she said she was going upstairs to take pills - she had two packs of tramadol, I asked 'where did you get them from?' she said it was from David (her partner).

"But she kept changing her story."

Mr Drury had earlier confirmed he was unaware his partner has been taking the drugs which he had been earlier prescribed by a GP in London.

On the day of her death he recalls speaking with her on the phone and says she was in a "buoyant" mood and excited as the valuation for the house was more than she had expected.

He said he was puzzled by earlier reports she had seemed vacant and says that he had warned her on earlier occasions not to leave cigarette ends in the basket.

He said: "We used to smoke outside but when it got to November she suggested going indoors and would say 'let's go inside' - at the time I thought it was silly but did not think it was my place to say - she was a very intelligent woman."

An investigation in to the cause of the fire revealed the most likely place it started was the wicker basked in the living room and most probably by a smouldering cigarette.

A post mortem into her death revaled she had died of smoke inhalation

A toxicology report revealed there was no alcohol in her system.

Assistant coroner Ian Goldup concluded Mrs Brown's death as misadventure.

Follow us

Like Us on Facebook

Most popular

Kent Travel News

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More