A MOTHER-of-three died of carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke inhalation during a fire at her home, an inquest heard.
It emerged that Jolene McCloskey (32), of Greenvale Park, Magherafelt, had made 999 calls and pleaded “Help me! Help me!” but the line went dead before she could be put through to police.
BT’s emergency response team immediately reported the call to the PSNI, who tried numerous times to contact the psychiatric nurse on the registered mobile phone she had used to make the call.
Despite several processes being enacted to try to find out further information, a system to get location details from mobile phone operators when a life is believed to be at risk was not triggered.
Ms McCloskey died in the early hours of June 13 last year and was discovered the next morning by her estranged husband Thomas in the bedroom of her home.
The fire has been attributed to discarded smoking materials which led to a leather-effect settee in the living room igniting.
A forensic scientist told the inquest that investigations led to the conclusion that someone had previously disconnected smoke alarms in the house from the mains electric and removed the back up batteries.
The inquest was told that since the incident the PSNI had overhauled their emergency response to 999 calls.
Questioned by a lawyer for the family about Ms McCloskey phone call, a detective said it had lasted between 15 and 16 seconds but had been disconnected before reaching the PSNI.
He explained that in cases where the emergency services believed there was an immediate threat to life they have another procedure involving contacting the individual mobile providers, and if the person is a subscriber – as Ms McCloskey was – the phone companies come back to them. In this case, this procedure was not carried out.
He added that as “a learning point” after the death, he had initiated a high level meeting with a PSNI head of department.
Coroner John Leckey said: “The fumes generated from house fires are so poisonous and people are incapacitated so quickly I don’t think it would have made any difference.”