By Rebecca Penston
A CORONER has agreed with a police theory that a “pathological liar” deliberately started a fire that killed his step-daughter so he could rescue her and be hailed a hero.
Two-year-old Isobel Dobson was eating her dinner in an adapted Ford Transit minibus with her half-sister Sarah when a blaze broke out in an adjacent barn, spreading to the van and engulfing it in huge flames.
Terry Webb, 39, the partner of Isobel’s mother Stacey Catch, 24, managed to pull one-year-old Sarah from the burning van but couldn’t reach little Isobel - known as Izzy - who perished in the blaze on September 30, 2011.
Yesterday (WED), Webb appeared at Wakefield Coroners Court to give evidence at the inquest - and denied that he was responsible for Izzy’s death.
Asked by Coroner David Hinchliff whether he denied the theory offered by police that he had deliberately started the inferno, Webb replied: “It wasn’t me.”
The coroner recorded a narrative verdict, concluding: “The police inquiries were such that they had a reason to be concerned about the activitiies and possible motive of Stacey’s then partner Terry Webb.
“It has been apparent that throughout his life that gentleman has perptrated the most horrendous stories and lies about his previous life - that his own sister was brutally murdered. He invented a total false and spurious military record saying he had served in terrible spots around the world and had suffered psychological damage because of it.
“It was entirely ficticious. He hadn’t suffered in any way.
“It was absolute nonsense.
“It caused the police, not unreasonably in my opinion, a concern that possibly because of this man’s flawed personality that he would want to invent stories which would turn him from what was really a very sad man into somebody else.
“He wanted to be liked. He wanted to be respected and he wanted to be a hero.
“The police theory and I put it no stronger than that, that he might well, in his rather odd psyche, decide to cause a fire to occur, not because he wanted to cause harm to these little girls, but he wanted to rescue them. [Then] he
would be regarded as a hero, and the saviour of the day.
“I personally have no reason to think that the police’s theory is in any way far fetched or unjustified. I think the theory is correct.”
Isobel’s dad, Andrew, is a former second team player for Selby Warriors Rugby League team.
* See next week’s Selby Times for full story.
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