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Claudia Winkleman still haunted by daughter's scream after Halloween costume caught fire

The Strictly Come Dancing host described the horrific accident as "life-changing"

claudia winkleman
Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Claudia Winkleman has admitted she is still haunted by her daughter's screams after the little girl's Halloween costume caught fire in 2014. The Strictly Come Dancing host's daughter Matilda was just eight when she was left with severe burns on her leg after the witch's outfit she was wearing brushed against a candle while the family were trick or treating with friends. In a new interview with Best magazine, Claudia reflected on the terrifying ordeal. "I don't like Halloween because three years ago it turned out our scream were real," she said.

claudia winkleman husband© Photo: Getty Images

Claudia Winkleman shares three children with her husband Kris Thykier

"She 'went up' is the only way I can describe it – it was a spark and she screamed out for me. It was like those horrific birthday candles that you blow out and they come back. It was really fast. It was definitely life-changing for me." The 45-year-old added: "I was talking to someone and then I heard her shout and she was on fire. It feels like she was on fire for hours, but the surgeon said it was probably just seconds."

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Matilda is Claudia's only daughter with her husband of 17 years Kris Thykier. The couple also share sons Jake, 13 and six-year-old Arthur. At the time, Claudia was assisted by a neighbour, Jamie Poulton, who himself suffered second degree burns while trying to put out the flames with his bare hands. He previously told the Daily Mail: "Suddenly Claudia’s daughter went up in a crackling ball of flame. All the children were wearing the same kit. It was like a potential horror film in front of me, because they were all going to go up… They were all on the doorstep together, right next to each other. So I just picked her up and lifted her over the children, got her on the pavement and tried to put her out."

claudia winkleman tess daly strictly© Photo: Getty Images

Claudia with her Strictly co-host Tess Daly

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He continued: "This material just keeps reigniting and re-burning. And it is sticky, so it melts on the skin. It doesn't cinder. It remains hot. It was horrific to be honest. I was trying to put it out with my hand. It was a warm night so I wasn't wearing a jacket. I was trying to roll her and pat her clothes. I was trying to rip the costume off her, which didn't really help because it just ripped and dropped back. It is very bad material. That stuff is terrible. The costumes are very, very cheap to buy. They are nylon and they just go up." Jamie concluded: "Any parent would have done exactly the same thing so I don't think there is anything heroic about it."

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