A Croydon couple with a history of domestic violence died from horrific burns after an explosion ripped through their home, inquest into their deaths heard.

Croydon Coroner's Court was told yesterday (Tuesday) how Doreen Abidoph had been doused in petrol as she lay on her bed after a party to celebrate her birthday on January 7 last year.

Neighbours watched in horror as the 39-year-old fled her home in Towpath Way engulfed in flames.

She and her live-in partner Nicholas Sang, 31, suffered serious burns in the fire - but later blamed each other for igniting the blaze.

Detective Inspector Barney Ratcliffe said that while Ms Abidoph was being taken to hospital she told paramedics Mr Sang was to blame.

He said: "Doreen said to paramedics, you won't believe it's my birthday today, I'm 39. He did this to me. He poured petrol over me and set me alight'."

But while in hospital Mr Sang told his mother Ms Abidoph had been the one who set fire to him.

Forensic evidence revealed Ms Abidoph's burns were "consistent with her lying down", contradicting Mr Sang's version of events.

Det Insp Ratcliffe added: "The burns sustained by Nicholas Sang were consistent with his jeans catching fire while he was in a standing position."

Fire investigators discovered a 25-litre container with petrol in it in an upstairs landing and two lighters were found in the bedroom where Ms Abidoph was. Experts could not determine which of the occupants started the fire, but they said the possibility of the fire being started by an accidental spark from an appliance was possible but unlikely.

Ms Abidoph's burns, which covered more than 80 per cent of her body, were so extensive she died of multiple organ failure on January 24.

Mr Sang was moved from the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to the Broomfield Hospital where on March 21 he died of bronchial pneumonia and multiple organ failure as a result of burns.

Recording an open verdict, Croydon Coroner Dr Roy Palmer said: "I don't think it was an accident but I don't think the evidence that has been available allows me to reach any other conclusion than the one I have given."