Man who murdered eight in house fire jailed for at least 23 years

A murderer who took the lives of five children and three adults in a house fire 17 years ago has been jailed for at least 23 years.

Eight members of the Chishti family died when Shahid Mohammed, 37, carried out the attack with other men following a long-running and bitter family dispute.

The victims were asleep in their home on Osborne Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, when petrol bombs were thrown inside the property, with petrol also being poured through the letterbox and ignited.

Huddersfield fire victims
(Left to right) Mohammed Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, Tayyaba Batool, 13, Najeebah Nawaz, six months, Nafeesa Aziz, 35, Aneesa Zawaz, two, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Rabina Batool, 10, and Zaib-un-Nisa, 54, who all died in a fire (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

The five children that died along with their mother, uncle and grandmother stood little chance of escaping the burning inferno, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court.

Mohammed had been investigated by the police for his role in setting the fire, but while others stood trial in 2003 he instead skipped bail and fled to Pakistan.

After more than a decade on the run, he was extradited back to the UK last year.

A four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court heard how, in the lead-up to the fire, Mohammed had taken against Saud Pervez, the boyfriend of his sister, Shahida.

Prosecutors said that Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, one of those who died in the fire, was the likely target of the arson attack as he had played an “active part” in maintaining the relationship.

After being convicted of eight counts of murder and a single charge of conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life, Mohammed was jailed on Wednesday for life with a minimum of 23 years.

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