A woman who was engulfed in flames tragically died after running into the street screaming, ‘my husband, he did it’.
Nosheen Akhtar, 31, died at Wythenshawe Hospital after suffering severe burns as she told paramedics ‘her husband threw liquid on her’ before ‘setting her on fire’, an inquest has heard — reported by the Manchester Evening News.
She passed away the day after the horrific incident at her home on East Street in Bury, on July 23rd, 2021. One of the paramedics who treated Ms Akhtar said that she told her: “My husband, he did it.”
Amy Bradburn described Ms Akhtar — who was also known as Sarah Hussain — as having ‘extensive burns’ on her body and her ‘face looked as though it had melted’.
Ms Bradburn’s colleague, Duncan Mayoh, recalled Ms Akhtar ‘screaming in agony for us to help her’ and while inside the ambulance on the way to hospital, he said Ms Akhtar claimed ‘her husband had thrown liquid on her and set her on fire’.
Mr Mayoh said Ms Akhtar did not appear ‘confused’ when she made the claim, after receiving a high dose of morphine.
While Ms Akhtar was rushed to casualty, her husband Waqas Mahmood was treated at the scene for several blister burns to his hand. Paramedic Dominic Wilson said he appeared ‘worked up’ but was ‘co-operative’ while he attended to his injuries.
He told the inquest: “I asked what had happened and he explained that his wife had poured white spirit on herself and set fire to herself. She came into the living room on fire and he set about trying to extinguish the flames using cushions, towels and blankets then picked her up and took her out of the house.”
However, the inquest heard that CCTV footage showed Ms Akhtar running out of the property whilst on fire. She was then followed by Mr Mahmood and his brother Hasnain Mahmood —who could both be seen using cushions attempting to put the flames out.
Investigators who visited Ms Akhtar and Mr Mahmood’s home following the incident found two open bottles containing an accelerant and a lighter on the living room floor, the inquest was told.
Emma Wilson, a fire investigator who examined the scene, said tests showed the accelerant had likely been poured over Ms Akhtar before the back of her tunic was set alight. She also said the damage to the sofa and throw in the living room suggested Ms Akhtar was standing when her clothing was set alight before sitting down for ‘a matter of seconds’.
Ms Wilson added that either Ms Akhtar or Mr Mahmood could have set the clothing alight, but Ms Akhtar would have had to ‘reach around’ herself in order to do so. She added: “It would seem more likely that the wearer would ignite it in an accessible location.
“It’s less likely she would reach around to ignite it at the rear.”
A post-mortem examination carried out on Ms Akhtar’s body found she had suffered ‘widespread burns to her body’, the inquest heard. In a statement read out in court, pathologist Dr Philip Lumb gave her cause of death as ‘burns and inhalation of the products of combustion’.
The inquest heard that in the months prior to her death, Ms Akhtar, who grew up in Pakistan, had spoken to family and health professionals about problems in her marriage with Mr Mahmood. Ms Akhtar’s mother, Zaheera Bibi, said her daughter told her that she and Mr Mahmood regularly argued and she was ‘fed up’ about Mr Mahmood visiting his ex-wife.
She said: “She used to ring and cry on the phone. There were so many fights and arguments between them.”
Following a visit to see family in Pakistan in 2020, Ms Bibi said Ms Akhtar started crying and ‘seemed worried’ about returning home to the UK. She added: “She wanted to make her marriage successful and she wanted to do whatever she could do to save her marriage.”
The inquest went on to hear that Ms Akhtar was taken to hospital in February 2021 after taking an overdose, and told medics she had done so following an argument in which Mr Mahmood threatened to leave her.
Ms Akhtar’s GP, Dr Afzal Hussain, told the inquest that during an appointment the next month, Ms Akhtar claimed she had taken the overdose ‘in frustration’ and accused Mr Mahmood of ‘neglecting and ignoring’ her. He added: “The majority of her issues were related to her husband still seeing his ex-wife and children on an almost daily basis.”
Ms Bibi said she and her daughter spoke on the phone on a daily basis. During a conversation on the afternoon of July 23rd, she said Ms Akhtar seemed ‘in a happy mood’ and did not believe she would have set herself on fire.
In a statement read out in court, Ms Akhtar’s family described her as ‘brave’ and ‘good-natured’ but said she ‘kept a lot from the family’. They said: “Nosheen did not want to show the family that she was stressed.
“She was very nice. She used to take care of us like a mother. She had a good nature and used to think of us all while living in the UK. She used to get worried for others and always wanted to do something for them.”
The inquest, expected to last seven days, will continue tomorrow.
Manchester’s historic Portico Library awarded huge grant to secure its future
The funding has helped secure the future of the 218-year-old building
The Grade II-listed Portico Library will receive almost half a million pounds to transform the historic building.
The funding has helped secure the future of the 218-year-old building – a much-loved gem standing proudly on Mosley Street.
Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the £453,000 will see the treasured library undergo a huge revamp and preserve its book collection.
During its development, local communities in Manchester will be invited to help work on the project.
With particular focus on environmentally sustainable architectural plans, it aims to unite all three original floors of The Portico Library for the first time in 100 years.
The ground floor will be transformed into a ‘Northern bookshop’ which will hold educational activities, with areas for dining, exhibitions areas and meeting spaces.
While the upper floors will showcase the library’s incredible book collection and archives, which includes the first edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
John Carpenter, Chair of the Portico Library, said: “The news that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting The Portico Library’s bold scheme to open up and share its extraordinary heritage and collection, to Manchester residents and visitors, is a major cultural signal to Manchester, the North and the UK.”
He added: “This visionary project, years in the making, fulfils our mission of working with the many people in Manchester to explore, share and celebrate their diverse stories and the city’s literary and global heritage.
“Embracing creativity, collaboration and inclusivity, the project will unlock the Library’s past to plan for the future. We would like to thank the National Lottery players who have made it possible to realise our vision.”
Handwritten note with ‘plan to kill’ Brianna Ghey found in accused girl’s room
The note was found during a police search
A handwritten note with alleged details of a ‘plan to kill’ transgender teenager Brianna Ghey was found by police in the bedroom of Girl X.
The crumpled paper note (pictured) was discovered by officers during a search conducted at the accused’s home in March, more than a month after the tragic death of the 16-year-old.
Brianna was found after being stabbed 28 times in Culcheth Linear Park, Warrington, earlier this year.
The teenager was discovered by dog walkers just after 3pm on Saturday, February 11th.
Girl X from Warrington and Boy Y from Leigh both deny murder. During the trial, jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard how Girl X sent a picture of the handwritten note to Boy Y on February 3rd.
The note began with the header: “Saturday 11th February 2023. Victim: Brianna Ghey.”
It continued: “Meet Boy Y at wooden posts 1pm. Walk down to library…bus stop. Wait until Brianna gets off bus then the 3 of us walk to Linear Park.
“Go to the pipe/tunnel area. I say code word to Boy Y. He stabs her in the back as I stab her in the stomach. Boy Y drags the body into the area. We both cover up the area with logs etc.”
In her opening speech, prosecutor Deanna Heer KC told the jury: “It is clearly, the prosecution say, a plan to kill Brianna Ghey.” During the same search on March 17th, officers found a note found in a drawer headlined ‘plan’.
Details in the note continued: “Give them alcohol with sleeping pills.
“Slit throat. I kill her. Dismember body. Place pieces in bin bags, bury bags 7ft underground, bones including.
“Get her to go to Linear park, go to the hidden spot near the bridge I usually go to. Someone jumps out and restrains her (plan B). I kill her.”
During the search, police also found a computer tablet and a black notebook.
Jurors heard that written in the notebook was the word ‘anarchy’ on one page, and on another there was a list of ‘what is right and wrong’. Another page had a ‘spider diagram’ with ‘good and ‘evil’ in the middle.
The ‘legs’ of the diagram lead to the words ‘forgiveness, justice, morality, good, suffering, evil, sin and free will’, the court heard.
On another page there were the words ‘Valentine’s gifts’ and on another the words ‘revision HW’. Prosecutor Cheryl Mottram said: “Homework, perhaps.”
Written on another page were the words ‘types of serial killers’, with a list under the heading.
Words underneath included ‘organised and disorganised’, ‘mass murder’, ‘psychotic’, ‘organised crime’ and ‘copy cat’. On another page were the words ‘films’, and ‘faves’.
Another page was headed with ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’ and then a ‘list of characteristics’. There were also notes about ‘John Wayne Gacy’, the ‘killer clown’.
The notebook also had written inside it a note which read ‘potential threats’ and ‘people that need to go’.
Another page had Boy Y’s name on it followed by a ‘list of qualities or attributes’. Underneath was written the words ‘trustworthy, funny, sociopath, good sense of humour, very very smart, genius level and not sociable’.
Officers also recovered a black purse inside a ‘cubby hole’ with a handwritten note inside.
The note read: “Friday 11th November, attitudes to forgiveness.” Jurors were told the note contained two names, including Gee Walker.
“Forgives her son Anthony’s killer,” it read. And continued: “Julie Nicholson, who could not forgive the terrorists who killed her daughter Jenny.”
Three handwritten notes were also found on the floor of the room. One read ‘serial killer facts’, with a ‘list of facts relating to serial killers’ including ‘killing themselves in police custody can be a final act of control’, ‘hedonism’ and ‘power and control orientated’.
Other notes made were ‘cruelty to animals’, ‘bed wetting past age of five’, ‘USA has the most serial killers’, ‘lack of empathy for others’ and ‘can be superficially charming’.
One note read ‘Dr Harold Frederick Shipman, aka Dr Death’, followed by the words ‘classification, serial killer’.
And jurors were told there was also a note in relation to ‘Richard Ramirez, or the ‘Night Stalker’.
The trial, which began on November 27th at Manchester Crown Court, continues.
Hugh Grant and wife Anna donate £20,000 ‘Britain’s kindest plumber’
A lovely Christmas gift to help those in need
Hugh Grant and his wife Anna have donated £20,000 to Burnley plumber James Anderson.
Dubbed ‘Britain’s kindest plumber’, James Anderson set up Depher, which stands for Disabled and Elderly, Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response, back in 2017.
Originally a plumber who offered services to those in need for free of charge, Mr Anderson now runs the community interest company.
Depher provides plumbing work free of charge for those who are struggling in the cost of living crisis.
Since it began in 2017, Depher has helped more than half a million people across the country and relies on donations from the public.
Now, Hollywood actor Hugh Grant and his wife Anna, who both arrived in Manchester on Thursday December 7th to attend the Chanel Métiers d’Art fashion show, have made a donation of £20,000 to help those in need this winter.
The couple have also donated tens of thousands of pounds to the Depher cause in the past.
Anderson called the kind donation a ‘Christmas gift’ and said it brings the total they have donated to £75,000.
Sharing the news on the Depher Twitter page, Mr Anderson wrote: “After speaking privately to @HackedOffHugh and Anna Grant I have permission to share their wonderful #Christmas gift to @Depheruk.
“This wonderful and humbling donation of £20,000.00 will give hope to thousands of people, families and children, especially with the #CostOfLivingCrisis.
“They both have my lifetime of respect and love.”