Man accused of killing eight in family feud fire ‘asked did you see the way it went up?’
Shahid Mohammed, 37, is alleged to have been responsible for the killing of three adults and five children in what has been described as a “carefully planned” house fire that ripped through a property on Osborne Road, Kirkby, Huddersfield, 17 years ago.
The blaze is said to have been started using petrol bombs made from milk bottles following a bitter family row.
Prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court Mr Mohammed and Shaied Iqbal drove to the Huddersfield house in the early hours of May 12, 2002, with the intention to use the petrol bombs in the back of the Nissan Micra they were travelling in.
Alistair MacDonald QC said Mr Iqbal described Mr Mohammed as being “very happy and was smiling” as the fire tore through the property and turned to him and said “Did you see the way it went up?”
A fire expert, Dr Swan, had investigated the property following the incident and discovered there were “two separate areas of origin.”
Jurors heard the makeshift petrol bombs were thrown in through the double-glazed window, while the hallway fire was caused by petrol being poured in through the letterbox and ignited.
Mr Iqbal was convicted of eight counts of murder in 2003 but Mr Mohammed did not stand trial at the time as he skipped bail and fled to Pakistan, the court heard.
Jurours heard Bazaar Hussain and Shakiel Shazad also stood trial for the fire and were found guilty of eight counts of manslaughter.
“The prosecution say that this was a carefully planned attack on this house and that those who set these fires knew what they were doing”
Addressing the court, Mr MacDonald said: “It is, as you know, part of the prosecution case that the reason he absconded and broke his bail was that he is guilty of the arson on Osborne Road and the murders of the family there.”
Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, known as Ateeq, is thought to have been the alleged target of the attack because he had played an “active part” in maintaining a relationship between the defendant’s sister and her husband.
Ateeq died in the fire along with Nafeesa Aziz, 35, and her daughters Tayyaba Bootall, three, Rabiah Bootall, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and six-month-old Najeebah Nawaz.
Of the feud, the prosecutor said: “The defendant and his family were deeply unhappy about that relationship.
Mitigating, Abbas Lakha QC addressed jurors and said they would have to set aside “strong emotions” evoked by the trial.
He asked: “Was the plan to kill or cause really serious harm?
“Or was he, as the defence say, caught up in events that spiralled out of control?”
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