The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has apologised to the family of a Bury woman who died from severe burns after her inquest was adjourned again.

An investigation into the death of Nosheen Akhtar, who was also known as Sarah Hussain, was halted after it was found the CPS had failed to conduct a full review of the evidence heard throughout proceedings.

Nosheen, 31, died from her injuries on July 24, 2021 a day after she was seen running from a house on East Street, Bury, while she was on fire.

An inquest into her death opened in July 2021 at Rochdale Coroners' Court and was resumed in February this year before being adjourned until July.

But proceedings were halted once again by assistant coroner for Manchester North Lisa Judge to allow the CPS to review evidence and transcripts.

While inquests are not criminal investigations, coroners must adjourn proceedings and pass information onto the CPS and police if evidence suggests a criminal act may have caused a person’s death.

Joanne Cunliffe, deputy chief crown prosecutor the CPS North West, apologised to Nosheen’s mother and her husband Waqas Mahmood after it was found that some evidence passed onto the CPS by the coroner had not been transcribed and reviewed.

She said it was "disappointing" that neither the CPS or Greater Manchester Police informed Nosheen’s family that no further criminal investigation would be pursued.

Ms Judge told the court that during preparations for today’s hearing, scheduled to last for three days, “it became apparent that that only part of the audio had been transcribed and that material had not been listened to".

She said evidence given by Nosheen’s husband, Waqas Mahmood, his brother Hasnain Mahmood and Hasnain’s wife, Ifra Farooq, had not been considered by the CPS despite receiving assurances that all relevant material would be reviewed.


In a letter to Ms Judge, dated August 3, the CPS said it has reviewed "some of the evidence and the rest should be completed early next week".

In a later letter sent in October, the CPS said the evidence did not need "any further consideration" and that "there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute" anyone in connection with Nosheen’s death.

Ms Judge noted that it had been 830 days since Nosheen died as Greater Manchester Police told the court it would require four weeks to review the remaining evidence. Ms Cunliffe said it would need a further four weeks to conduct its own review.

Ms Judge apologised to the court as she adjourned proceedings until the next available date, February 12 next year.