A student from Kelsall who died from severe burns was the most ‘popular, optimistic and outgoing’ person you could meet, an inquest heard.

Nicholas Morrison, 25, of Hollands Lane, was killed after a fire in a field near his home on September 19, 2015.

His death was caused by injuries he suffered after setting himself alight, the coroner said at Chester Magistrates Court.

Mr Morrison’s family paid tribute to their son, who was studying mechanical engineering at Liverpool John Moores University.

His mother, Julie Morrison, said: “Nick was the most popular, optimistic and outgoing boy.

“It was unbelievable to us all because he was the last person you could think would do this.

“I think the public don’t know a lot about mental health and don’t know the extent of what it can cause.”

Mr Morrison was suffering from stress and anxiety related to his university exam resits and had started meditation to help cope with them.

His family said he seemed distracted, but normal, as the 25-year-old left a get together at home at about 4.30pm on the Saturday.

Neighbours spotted a person on fire on a hill above Hollands Lane and rushed to help at 5.30pm.

His mother recalled from their garden she had heard a whooshing sound and a smell of petrol coming from the hill about 45 minutes earlier.

Catherine Peel, of Hollands Lane, ran up the hill with a fire blanket which she put over Mr Morrison, but took it off again after he said it made it feel hotter.

She sat with him while emergency services were called and said he was ‘calm and lucid’, but asked if his parents ‘could not see him this way’.

Air Ambulance
Air Ambulance

Mr Morrison was taken by North West Air Ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, where he died the following day.

Talented young man

Cheshire assistant coroner Dr Janet Napier said: “This is a tragic loss of a very talented young man who was making plans for his future.

“He was having difficulty with his thoughts and wasn’t clear in his mind, but this came on very acutely.”

Both Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Police said they had found no evidence of third party involvement.

Officers found a note in Mr Morrison’s room which was addressed to his mother, but she said the family ‘didn’t recognise the Nick who had written the note’.

Dr Napier recorded a narrative verdict.

She said: “Mr Morrison died due to the affects of the burns he suffered following him setting himself on fire.

“He was suffering from an unclear mind at the time so I cannot be 100% sure he intended what happened.”

For anyone needing advice and support on mental health, organisations such as Mind, Papyrus and The Big White Wall are available to talk. Samaritans provide confidential support 24 hours a day on 08457 909090.