Belfast Telegraph

Candle was cause of Newry fatal house fire

By Adrian Rutherford

A prostitute died in a house fire which started after an ornamental candle was knocked over.

Melanie Clarke, who worked as an £80-an-hour escort, suffered from blackouts due to diabetes and may have collapsed, causing the candle to topple.

The 43-year-old was from Birmingham but had been working at a house in Newry prior to her death in January.

She had been travelling to Northern Ireland since October for escort work.

Yesterday an inquest heard that although police initially believed the fire was suspicious, they were now satisfied it had been caused accidentally.

There were no signs of accelerant and faint marks around her eyes and neck were most likely caused by severe coughing, not foul play.

The blaze occurred in the early hours of Sunday, January 12.

Coroner Jim Kitson said it was a "very sad case" where a woman had tragically lost her life.

He said Ms Clarke's diabetes left her prone to sudden and unexpected incidents of collapse and this is what probably happened.

Belfast Telegraph

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