Date: 21 Jul 1959
Anna Gattward died following a fire at her home on Friday 17 July 1959.
It was the fourth fire at her home within a month and the Coroner said that it was obvious that someone had started them. She had jumped 17 feet from her bedroom window with her 11-year-old daughter after which she was taken to hospital where she died a few days later on Wednesday 22 July 1959.
Anna Gattward had been severely burned in the fire.
Her 11-year-old daughter was said to have also been seriously ill and was treated in the plastic surgery unit at West Norwich Hospital.
They had both been in their nightclothes when they had jumped out of the window.
The police said that they thought that the fire at her house was started by a firebug.
Her husband had been in Lowestoft at the time the fire broke out. He said that they had bought the house in June 1959 and that he had heard that there had been three fires in the house before they had moved in.
He added that Anna Gattward had also previously called the police when she had found a strange man in the kitchen. The police said that following the report of the man in the kitchen that they sent three police cars to search the area, but found nothing.
At the inquest, the police said, 'We have been unable to obtain any information to suggest that any unauthorised person entered this house and caused this damage'.
A fire officer said, 'They were dazed and hysterical when we got to the house. We shouted to them not to jump, but they didn't hear. The fire started under the stairs'. However, at the inquest, the jury said that they felt that the evidence was not fully disclosed as to the cause of the fire and an open verdict was returned.
In a statement signed by Anna Gattward's daughter, she said, 'That morning Mummy gave me a sleeping tablet. I went to sleep again quickly and the next I knew was that I was on the window sill being awakened by Mummy who pushed me'.
A doctor that gave evidence at the inquest said that Anna Gattward had been a perfectly normal and sensible person.
see Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 25 September 1959
see Belfast Telegraph - Wednesday 22 July 1959
see Daily Herald - Wednesday 22 July 1959