Keighley woman fled burning home with hair on fire to escape knife attack by partner,inquest told

www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/10549071.Keighley_woman_




Keighley woman fled burning home with hair on fire to escape knife attack by partner,inquest told

A woman who survived a barber’s attempt to stab her and set them both on fire has given a harrowing account of what happened to a Bradford inquest into his death.

Police followed a trail of blood to find Helena Demeterova, who had been seen fleeing the house in Argyll Street, Keighley, screaming for help, covered in blood and with her hair on fire.

The hearing in Bradford yesterday heard how 32-year-old Omid Arif, who had a shop near the train station and had split from Miss Demeterova, had been desperate to rekindle their relationship.





He had rung 50 times a day begging her to go back to him but she did not want to because he had cheated on her, drank too much and started gambling.

The inquest heard how Mr Arif, who had gained UK citizenship and had a history of self-harming, had waited for Miss Demeterova outside her factory workplace on July 13, 2010.

As she got into her taxi he threw in his bank card saying he would not need it because he was going to kill himself, however he had said this before so she did not take it seriously, the hearing was told.

A short time later he telephoned her and asked if he could call round to the friend’s house where she was staying to get his card back. When he came to the house he lured her down into the basement kitchen asking for a drink of milk.


Miss Demeterova told the inquest: “He said he was thirsty and wanted a drink. We went down to the kitchen and as I got a glass of milk he cut me on my arm, it happened so fast. I was trying to push him away but he managed to cut me one more time. We were fighting. “He took out a bottle – it had green liquid in it – and sprayed it all over us. Then he took a lighter out of his pocket and lit it. When the flames came he let go because he had started to go on fire as well.”

She said she ran upstairs taking off her top that was on fire and he followed her into the hallway. She could not remember what happened next except running out of the door to her mother’s house nearby. A witness who saw Miss Demeterova flee the house reported the door slamming shut behind her as though someone inside had done it.

Firefighters had to later force their way in and found Mr Arif’s body in the heavily smoke-logged living room on the ground floor. They carried him out but he was pronounced dead in an ambulance.

Mr Arif had died from severe burns and inhaling fumes, the inquest was told.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Assistant Deputy Bradford Coroner Dr Dominic Bell said Mr Arif elected to die within the environment in which “he had initiated this course of action”.

Dr Bell paid tribute to mother-of-one Miss Demeterova, saying her ability to still smile as she gave evidence was “a marvellous tribute to her strength”.

Miss Demeterova, who had a son then aged four with Mr Arif, had to get treatment at Pinderfields Burns Unit for her injuries.

She declined to comment after the inquest, only saying: “I've had enough”.