Date: 30 Sep 2011
Isobel Dobson died in a fire in a van that had been next to a barn that had caught fire.
Her cause of death was given as being due to the effects of smoke and fire.
At her inquest the Coroner said that her stepfather probably started the fire to appear heroic by rescuing her. However, he said that it could not be determined who started the fire. The Coroner described the stepfather as a pathological liar and a sad man. He said 'I don't think you can say for one moment that the stepfather wanted to cause death or serious injury to these girls. He more than likely started the fire deliberately so he could become a hero and rescue these girls. But sadly things went wrong.'.
The stepfather was initially arrested for murder and attempted murder on the theory that he had started the fire but later released after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case saying that there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction on the evidence.
Isobel Dobson's mother later said after the inquest that she believed the police theory and called for justice.
Isobel Dobson had been in the van eating dinner with her 1-year-old sister next to a barn while her family were tending a horse at Hessle Farm in Wragby on 30 September 2011. A fire then started in the barn which was full of hay. Her 1-year-old sister was rescued from the fire by the stepfather but he was unable to rescue Isobel Dobson.
Experts said that a naked flame and possibly an accelerant had been used to start the fire. An expert said that eye witness statements that said that black smoke that was seen initially that had turned into flames could have indicated that a flammable liquid had been used. All the experts agreed that a naked flame had been used to start the fire.
The stepfather had admitted having a can of petrol and firelighters in the van but denied starting a fire accidentally or on purpose. He also admitted that he had a history of telling lies. The police said that his history of lying cast doubt over his version of events. He had previously lied about being in the army and had made up a story about having a sister that had been murdered.
see Daily Mail