Mum’s horror after being set alight
WARNING: Graphic images
A YOUNG mum set on fire by her sadistic neighbour described how he smirked as her face melted away.
Kirsten Ashby, 27, from Milton Keynes, England, had petrol poured over her by depraved James Bowen when she went to the aid of his girlfriend.
She was left with layers of her skin on her face melted away, as well as her shoulder-length dark hair burned to a cinder in the sickening attack, for which Bowen was jailed for life.
Speaking to TalkRadio's Iain Lee, she revealed that as she fought for her life in coma, she "had a few dreams" including one where her daughter Maddison appeared.
"One of them was standing there and being given an option. I could live or I could die," she said.
"First of all, I chose to die. I was going down, I was falling and falling, and then I got given a second chance.
"In my dream I was asked again, 'Do you want to live or do you want to die?'
"Within that second, Maddison popped into my head. And I said, 'No, I'm going to live.' I came back up and carried on fighting my way through."
The good Samaritan had gone to the aid of Lauren Russell who was suffering a fit but Bowen flew into a drug-fuelled rage when she suggested calling an ambulance.
Bowen, who had drunk a bottle Jack Daniels and taken cocaine, feared social services would take away their five children.
His sentencing hearing heard how he threw petrol over her and stood smoking a cigarette while he set it alight with a smug look on his face.
"I was running my hands through my hair, trying to get the fire out. Then I just remember falling down on my knees," said Kirsten.
"I couldn't run out of the door to get water because the two kids were standing there.
"And I couldn't run to the other side of the room because he had spilt alcohol over the floor. If I'd have been there the whole flat could have gone up.
"The next time I opened my eyes I saw the other neighbour standing there and there were two big yellow blobs, but it was the police in their jackets.
"Then I closed my eyes again and I woke up in (hospital)."
Kirsten was left with no finger tips, no ears, layers of her skin on her face melted away and her shoulder length brown her all burned away.
"I don't really remember too much about waking up," she said.
"I just knew that I couldn't move and couldn't talk and just kind of just went with it. I just did whatever I had to do."
Kirsten recalled the first time Maddison walked into the room and stood beside her bed.
"I got really emotional. And then I was like, 'Come on Kirsten, pull yourself together'," she said.
"We were just talking. She was like, this has happened in school and then my friend did this, and she was amazing.
"She kept on looking at my hands, my arms and my skin. So I said to her, 'Do you want to stroke my arm? It feels like a lizard'."
Kirsten underwent 80 operations said her daughter was initially afraid to touch her skin for fear of hurting her.
"It took her a couple of visits. But she never once shied away from me or anything.
"She'll give me my drink and hold it so I'm able to take my tablets. She likes to be involved."
Kirsten says she now "lives every day to the max" as she continues to receive treatment four times a week. "I'm OK, I'm getting there. Very slowly, but I'm doing it. I've just kind of adjusted I suppose."