Family fire killers jailed for life

Times Series: A mother and her three children died in the blaze A mother and her three children died in the blaze

Two men have been jailed for life after a mother and her three children died when their home was mistakenly set alight in a botched revenge attack.

Tristan Richards, 22, was told he would serve a minimum of 35 years for his part in the murders of Shehnila Taufiq, 47, daughter Zainab, 19, and sons Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15.

His accomplice Kemo Porter, 19, was given a 25 year minimum term.

They were convicted at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday after a two-month trial during which the jury heard that the family died when their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, was mistakenly set alight in what police called a "misguided and impulsive" attack last September.

The killers had intended to target a different house in Wood Hill, Leicester, as they sought to avenge the fatal stabbing of a friend hours earlier.

There were sobs from the public gallery as Mr Justice John Griffith Williams read out the sentences.

The judge said it was a "premeditated and planned attack".

"The defendants were out for really significant revenge", he said.

He said Richards had gone to the scene with the petrol and Porter with the lighter.

"The horror of what then happened is all too apparent," the judge said.

"The quantity of petrol and the pouring of petrol through the letterbox provide the evidence the plan was that the house was to be consumed by fire, which took hold instantly and spread upstairs.

"There was, and could not have been, any escape from that ferocious fire," he added.

Six other men who were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter over the deaths were also each handed jail terms at the court today.

They are Shaun Carter, 24, of Franche Road, Leicester; Nathaniel Mullings, 19, of Farringdon Street, Northfield, Leicester; Jackson Powell, 20, of Burnside Road, Leicester; Aaron Webb, 20, of Saltersford Road, Leicester; Akeem Jeffers, 21, of Carr Mills, Buslingthorpe, Leeds and 17-year-old Cairo Parker, from Leicester.

Carter was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while Mullings was handed 15 years detention in a young offender institution.

Webb, Powell and Jeffers were each sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Parker, on account of his age, was given eight years detention.

There were tears from the public gallery as the remaining sentences were read out.

During the trial, the court heard that football coach Antoin Akpom, 20, had been stabbed in the back in a "confrontation'" involving two 19-year-olds at around 5.30pm on September 12, less than a mile away in Kent Street.

He was pronounced dead in hospital at 7pm. Hussain Hussain, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years for Mr Akpom's murder following a trial at Stafford Crown Court earlier this year with the tariff since upgraded to 22 years.

The trial against the eight defendants at Nottingham Crown Court heard they had intended to target the house of another man who they believed had been involved in the confrontation.

But they got the wrong house and around 12.30am on September 13, petrol was poured through the letterbox of the Taufiq family home and ignited.

Mrs Taufiq's husband, a neurosurgeon, was working in Ireland at the time of the fatal blaze.

The jury heard Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar, who had sat in court throughout the trial, had spoken to his family just an hour before the fire broke out. The judge today praised Dr Taufiq saying his dignified presence throughout the trial had been "remarkable".

"He told in the most moving of terms his loss, its effect upon him and his dedication to complete, in their memory, the family goal of setting up a community centre in Dublin," the judge said.

"He too is a victim of what he described as a 'heartless, malicious act'," he added.

Speaking outside court, Dr Taufiq said: "I'm satisfied at the sentence and I accept everything.

"My family is with me 24/7 spiritually and these are the main motives for me. My own belief, religion, my God and my family are with me and these are the main motives for me to continue which I have been doing for the last nine months and will continue until my last breath.

"I'm going back to Dublin tonight where I will continue working at the hospital as well as helping at the community centre."

He said that he had decided to sell the house in Leicester, which had been uninsured at the time of the blaze.

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