Serial self-harmer dialled 999 before setting himself on fire

A MAN who doused himself in white spirit and set himself on fire after being seen at hospital 30 times for self-harm did not mean to kill himself, an inquest ruled last week.

Mark Foster, aged 39, of Ottawa Road, Weston, covered himself in the highly-flammable liquid and set himself on fire on January 28.

He called 999 that evening and told a helpless operator that he was covering himself in ‘the stuff used to clean paintbrushes’ before he set himself alight.

He said: “It’s painful but I need to get away from it all.”

The operator was forced to listen as Mr Foster burned his legs, as he said: “Everyone hates me, I don’t want to be here, no-one understands me, you’ll find me dead.”


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He is then believed to have started the fatal fire.

Statements read to the inquest said Mr Foster then started ‘screaming madly’ until the line went silent.

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The operator spent 10 minutes trying to coax Mr Foster into further conversation, but it was too late. His body was found by emergency crews who were summoned by a neighbour who had spotted flames through his window.

The inquest heard how Mr Foster had a long history of self-harm, and had been admitted to hospital on 30 separate occasions with self-inflicted injuries.

These included overdoses and cut wrists, and one occasion when he had swallowed bleach.

Sitting at Flax Bourton Coroners Court, coroner Terrence Moor returned a verdict of misadventure.

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