Wife set herself on fire ‘over his affair’

Dianne and Paul Staniforth
Dianne and Paul Staniforth
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A wife turned herself into a human fireball ‘to teach her husband a lesson’ for having a one-night stand, an inquest heard.

Depressed Dianne Staniforth, aged 51, discovered husband Paul had been unfaithful after spotting a text message on his phone.

She poured turpentine over herself before putting a match to the liquid while he and their two children were upstairs in bed.

Mr Staniforth told the inquest into her death he was woken by screaming and leapt out of bed to find his wife staggering up the stairs ‘like a fireball’.

“I heard a scream like I’d never heard before. I jumped out of bed and heard the screaming again,” he said.

He said he pushed his wife into the bathroom and ran cold water over her body while their 15 year-old daughter dialled 999.

Mrs Staniforth, a civil servant, suffered third degree burns to 70 per cent of her body and died six days after the tragedy last April 28.

PC Michelle Witham told the coroner: “Mrs Staniforth was taken for resuscitation.

“Later she beckoned me over and asked, ‘Where are my kids?’. I told her they were OK and not to worry.

“She said, ‘I did this to myself. I found out my husband was having an affair and wanted to teach him a lesson. I set fire to myself’.”

The court heard Mrs Staniforth, of Brimington Road, Chesterfield, who also had a nine year-old son, had taken an overdose in 2012 and previously last year poured petrol over her head.

Mr Staniforth said in the six months before her death his wife of 18 years had threatened to kill herself up to 40 times. A verdict of misadventure was recorded at the Chesterfield inquest.

Yesterday her heartbroken sister Julie Baird, 48, said: “My sister was full of life and she loved her children. What happened is a tragedy.”