Burned wife was ‘in shock’, court hears

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A WOMAN who died after allegedly being set on fire by her husband looked ‘in shock’ when she arrived at hospital for treatment, the receptionist who booked her in told a jury.

Stephen Eastwood, aged 55, is accused of murdering 56-year-old librarian Angela Eastwood by dousing her in white spirit before using a cigarette lighter to ignite it.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the couple were rowing when Mrs Eastwood was set ablaze at their home on Sycamore Drive, Thurcroft, Rotherham.

Hilary Cooper, a receptionist at Rotherham Hospital, said the pair arrived at around 6pm on December 27 and Eastwood said: “She has been using white spirit and lit a cig.”

“I looked at the lady and just said something like ‘Oh love’, and got her booked in as quickly as I could,” Ms Cooper said. “She looked in shock.”

Kerry Barnard, an accident and emergency nurse, told jurors Eastwood claimed his wife ignited the white spirit with a cigarette which was in her mouth.

“Her face was really red and there was some skin loss,” she said.

Mrs Eastwood died four days later.

Pathologist Dr Charles Wilson, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said Mrs Eastwood suffered ‘very serious burns’ which completely penetrated her skin.

“Burns render an individual very susceptible to infection,” Dr Wilson said. “She had extensive pneumonia.”

Eastwood, a joiner, denies murder.

The trial continues.