Man found guilty of murdering five children and three adults in arson attack

A man has been convicted of murdering eight people in a house fire which followed a long-running and bitter dispute.

Shahid Mohammed, 37, was found guilty of killing five children and three adults in the blaze at the property in Birkby, Huddersfield, in 2002.

Sisters die in Huddersfield fire
Shahid Mohammed was found guilty of murdering five children and three adults in an arson attack on a house in Birkby, Huddersfield, in 2002 (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

Mohammed had been investigated by police at the time but skipped bail and fled to Pakistan prior to a 2003 trial in which several other people were convicted for their involvement in the incident.

During a four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, jurors heard that the blaze which caused the deaths of eight members of the Chisti family had followed a grudge that the defendant had been “pursuing vigorously”.

Prosecutors said Mohammed, of no fixed address, reacted angrily when his sister, Shahida, became involved in a relationship with a man named Saud Pervez, of whom he did not approve.

Memorial for Huddersfield arson victims
Mourners in front of the coffins at the McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield during the multi-faith memorial service for eight members of the Chisi family (John Giles/PA)

One member of the Chisti family, Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, known as Ateeq, had played an “active part” in the maintaining of their relationship, and was probably the target of the attack on May 12 2002, the court heard.

Jurors were told that petrol bombs were thrown into the property, in Osborne Road, while petrol, believed to have been poured into the home through a nozzle, was ignited.

Mohammed will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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