Leeds & West Yorkshire

Huddersfield fire: Murder accused 'punched man in family feud'

Shahid Mohammed and scene of fire Image copyright West Yorkshire Police/Fire Service
Image caption Shahid Mohammed denies eight counts of murder an one count of arson intent to endanger life

A man accused of murdering eight people in a house fire repeatedly punched his sister's boyfriend as a family feud escalated, a court heard.

Shahid Mohammed is accused of killing five children, their mother, uncle and grandmother in Huddersfield in 2002.

The prosecution alleges Mr Mohammed, 37, carried out the fire attack with other men due to the family dispute.

He denies eight counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life.

Mr Mohammed, of no fixed address, fled to Pakistan in 2003 and was extradited back to the UK sixteen years later, Leeds Crown Court previously heard.

Giving evidence, Mr Mohammed told the jury he went with an older brother to meet with Saud Pervez, who was in a relationship with their teenage sister Shahida Younis.

Under questioning from defence QC Abbaas Lakha, Mr Mohammed admitted assaulting Mr Pervez in late 2001 after an attempt to convince him to call off the relationship "until a later time".

"He wasn't interested in what we had to say, he said he was going to continue the relationship so I got angry," Mr Mohammed told the court.

The eight members of the Christi family who died in the fire

  • Nafeesa Aziz, 35,
  • Her five young daughters - Tayyaba Batool, three, Rabiah Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and Najeeba Nawaz, six months
  • Nafeesa Aziz's brother, Mohammed Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18,
  • Their mother, Zaib-un-Nisa, 54

The jury heard his sister and Mr Pervez later fled to Newcastle, with Mr Mohammed and others driving up from Yorkshire armed with an imitation firearm, a hockey stick and other weapons to bring her back.

Asked what the purpose of the journey was, he responded: "To find my sister, to speak to her, find out if she'd been forced into anything and bring her back to speak to my parents."

After bringing her back, his sister told the family the pair had married in secret, the court heard.

It is believed the target of the fire attack had been Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, who died in the blaze in Osborne Road, Birkby, the court previously heard.

The prosecution said Mr Ateeq, a friend of Mr Pervez, had allegedly been targeted because he had played an "active part" in maintaining the relationship between Mrs Younis and Mr Pervez.

The jury previously heard the defendant and another man, Shaied Iqbal, had driven in the early hours of 12 May towards the property, allegedly carrying petrol bombs in the back of a Nissan Micra.

In a 2003 trial, Iqbal was convicted of eight counts of murder, while Nazar Hussain and Shakiel Shazad were both found guilty of eight counts of manslaughter in relation to the fire.

The trial continues.

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