Bus driver who died in blaze 'probably set himself alight'
A depressed bus driver who died after his car exploded is likely to have set fire to himself, an inquest heard.
Coroner Samuel Bass recorded an open verdict into the death of father-of-three Darren Seaman who died by Milton Country Park at 2.15pm on January 5.
Kirsty Learmonth, 25, Mr Seaman’s’s partner of nine years, paid tribute to him and said he was a “very kind and hands-on father”.
Miss Learmonth said: “Even though I expected an open verdict, something like this is going to take a very long time to get over. It’s good to hear the facts of the incident.
“It provides some closure and it will be settling for my children as they grow up.”
An inquest in Huntingdon yesterday heard a Zippo lighter and petrol can were found near the remains of Mr Seaman’s Citroen Saxo.
The 39-year-old, of Mere Way, Cambridge, was on fire for some time as he walked out of his car and tried to hurdle a fence near the park entrance. Members of the public tried to put out the flames but he was pronounced dead by a paramedic at 2.20pm.
Coroner Samuel Bass recorded an open verdict and said: “I cannot be sure beyond reasonable doubt he wanted to take his own life. There was no note and it was possible he wanted to fill up his lighter from the petrol can – but it is unlikely.”
The cause of death was given as smoke inhalation and burns.
Mr Seaman, who was a popular bus driver for Stagecoach in Cambridge, had been taking antidepressants for two years and was suffering from depression.
He had dropped his partner and son off at a nursery shortly before the incident happened.
Bruce Parcell, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue operations manager, said: “The most likely cause of the fire was the deliberate emission of petrol vapour by application of a naked flame of a Zippo lighter.
“It was most likely he did this himself and the extent of burning would be for someone who had fuel on them already.
“He was walking slowly – but as horrific as it was, it was likely he would have had no feeling at all as his nerve endings were that badly damaged.”
A witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, was sitting in his car texting when he heard the explosion. He described the scene as a “surreal moment similar to something out of a movie set”.
A post mortem examination revealed that Mr Seaman suffered burns to his upper torso and face.