Brothers 'killed mother and children in arson attack'

Two brothers killed two young children and their mother in an arson attack following a bitter business dispute with the youngsters' father, a court heard today.

Alina Shah, 10, and Aman Shah, eight, died when a blaze engulfed their home in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in the early hours of July 6 last year.

Their mother, Iram Shah, 30, was seriously injured when she jumped from the flames and died in hospital six days later.

Today, a jury at Bradford Crown Court heard that Mrs Shah and her children were all in the same bed at the house in Hendford Drive when the alarm was raised by her brother Mohsan Rasa, who was downstairs.

Mr Rasa managed to escape through an upstairs window but, despite rescue efforts by him and neighbours, the children were overcome by smoke.

The court heard that Mrs Shah was found on fire in the garden and had to be rolled over to extinguish the flames.

Andrew Stubbs QC, prosecuting, told the court: "As they did that, she kept asking about her children.

"Neighbours made brave attempts to try to force their way into the burning house but to no avail."

The prosecution alleges it was brothers Asjid and Arshed Mahmood, aged 21 and 18 respectively, who set light to the premises.

Mr Stubbs said the blaze followed an increasingly bitter dispute between Asjid Mahmood and Zaheer Shah - the former partner of Iram Shah and father of the two children.

Mr Stubbs said the dispute centred around a car the two men had bought together to hire out.

He said: "Over time this intensified to such an extent that by July of last year Asjid Mahmood was saying he wanted to torture and kill Zaheer Shah."

The brothers, both of Pollard Lane, Undercliffe, Bradford, each deny three counts of murder.

The prosecution's opening statement continues later today.

Kersten England  Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

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