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Fatal fire victim blamed attack on ex-husband

A woman suffering extensive burns told a paramedic her former husband had caused the injuries because she had divorced him, a murder trial heard.

Steven Morgan was called to an incident at a salon in Maxwell Place, Stirling, last October and found a woman lying on the road.

Mr Morgan, 45, told the High Court in Edinburgh: "She was awake, but she was extensively burned."

The paramedic said the primary concern was her airway and there appeared to be a lot of soot round her nose and mouth.

Mr Morgan said a decision was made to get her to hospital as quickly as possible, where doctors were standing by to receive her.

He was in the rear of an ambulance with the patient who was talking to him. He said he asked her who had done this and she responded it was her ex-husband.

"I asked her why. She said because she had divorced him," he told the court.

Mr Morgan was giving evidence at the trial of Ahmad Yazdanparast, 61, who denies murdering Ahdieh Khayatzadeh or Yazdanparast, 46, at the hair salon where she worked. It is alleged he assaulted her and poured petrol or a similar flammable substance over her head and body, ignited it and set fire to her and that she was so severely injured she died in hospital.

An experienced firefighter said the woman brought out alive from the basement hair salon was in a "horrendous" condition.

Advocate depute Tim Niven-Smith asked Gary Collie if he remembered saying in a statement to police that she looked like a mannequin and he agreed.

Crew manager Mr Collie said: "Just because of the injuries she had. They were just terrible."

The prosecutor asked if he had encountered injuries like this before and he said: "Yes, many times, but never in somebody who was still alive."

Mr Collie, 42, who has more than 20 years' experience in the fire service, was part of a crew directed to the Venus Hair and Beauty Salon last October 12 after multiple 999 calls were received.

He said smoke was rising from the basement when they arrived and a person was lying nearby with injuries to his hand. He and a colleague went in wearing breathing apparatus and found two small fires, which they put out.

Mr Collie said he could also hear a noise, which he said was very difficult to describe. He said: "It didn't sound human … I was fully expecting to come across like a dog or an animal of some description."

But he said he found a person sitting but was not able to tell if it was a male or female at that stage.

He told his colleague he had located a casualty and the pair brought the person out of the building. He said she had obvious burn injuries to her upper torso, face and head. He added her hair was more or less burned away.

The firefighter said the woman was "very much conscious".

The trial heard there were concerns over her airways and Mr Collie opened her mouth, although he said her lower face was "like cooked chicken".

The trial, before Lady Wise, continues.

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