Sheffield dad with history of arson, delusions and depression took his own life in flat fire, inquest finds

A Sheffield dad with a history of delusional thoughts and arson took his own life by setting fire to the flat in which he lived, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 14:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 19:16 pm

Dad of one Nigel Chatterton, aged 50, barricaded himself in to his St Lawrence Road, Tinsley flat on Wednesday, October 31 last year with a washing machine, a bar stool and stepladders before setting four separate fires.

Arriving at the scene shortly after 11pm, firefighters initially struggled to gain access to the flat before finding Mr Chatterton unresponsive on his bed, surrounded by family photos.

Nigel Chatterton with his daughter Amy Khan.

Paramedics from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service then battled for 20 minutes to resuscitate him to no avail and he was pronounced dead shortly after 11.30.

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A post-mortem report found that he had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

In concluding that Mr Chatterton took his own life, assistant coroner Robert Forrest paid tribute to the dignity with which his family had conducted themselves and expressed his deepest condolences for their loss.

He said: “Barricading the door and surrounding himself with photos seem to be indicative that Nigel had an intention that he would not be found in time to save his life. I am going to have to return a conclusion of suicide.”

Flat fire on St Lawrence Road in Tinsley. Picture: Chris Etchells

The inquest into Mr Chatterton’s death today at Sheffield Coroners’ Court also heard evidence from his GP and a psychologist who had treated him in the years before his death.

Consultant forensic psychologist Dr William Hayes revealed Mr Chatterton had been detained under the mental health act after he set fire to his bedroom at Nether Edge Hospital in August 2014.

He confirmed that Nigel had a delusional disorder and a depressive illness but defended the decision to release him back into the community in January 2016.

He said: “It is always surprising when these things happen but it is not uncommon. I would have had to say he had capacity at the time of the incident.”

Speaking after the inquest, Nigel's daughter, Amy Khan, aged 20, said: "Dad, I used to be your angel, now you’re mine. Rest in peace. I love you."