A DEPRESSED pensioner was found dead in her living room following a fire in her home.

Anita Franks Taylor, who died from smoke inhalation, was discovered on the ground floor of her house in Leybourne Road, Leytonstone, on Tuesday December 28.

She was found clutching a a packet of tobacco in one hand a lighter in the other.

After noticing the flames, neighbours broke into the house, but the smoke was too thick for them to enter.

The 67-year-old, who lived alone, was pronounced dead at the scene at just after 10pm, Waltham Forest Coroners Court heard today.

A large quantity of smoked cigarettes were found in several ash trays in the living room and bedroom of the flat.

Investigators found no evidence that the cause of the fire was suspicious.

Ms Franks Taylor, who was sectioned in 1995 and 1999, had been undergoing years of treatment for schizophrenia, depression and respiratory problems.

And last September, four months before her death, firefighters were called to her house after she set light to a newspaper in a bin.

Five days before her death, she was seen by her psychiatrist, Dr William Travers.

He told the court that her mood had been irritable and subdued and she was making delusional statements.

However, on the day of the fire when she was seen by his colleague at around 12pm, she was more cooperative and displayed no signs of the delusions or fluctuations in her mood evident in the previous visit.

The fire investigation officer said the fire could have been started by accident due to the large amount of smoking materials in the house.

He said he could not rule out the possibility the fire was started deliberately.

Coroner Chinyere Inyama recorded an open verdict.

He said he could not be satisfied on a "balance of probability" whether the fire had been started deliberately or by accident.