A murderer who killed eight members of a Yorkshire family in a devastating house fire has today been sentenced to life in prison.
Shahid Mohammed, 37, was yesterday found guilty of killing five children and three adults in the blaze at the property in Birkby, Huddersfield, in 2002, following a five-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Appearing at the same court again today, His Honour Justice Spencer sentenced him to life in prison with a minimum of 23 years.
The judge said: "The lives of three precious generations were wiped out in one night.
"For murder there can only be one sentence and that is life imprisonment.
"This was a planned, revenge killing."
During his trial, jurors heard that the blaze which caused the deaths of eight members of the Chishti 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.
Controlling Mohammed aimed his rage at Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, known as Ateeq, who had supported Shahida and Saud's relationship.
On May 12, 2002, Mohammed carried out the ultimate revenge on Ateeq and the Chishti family, who were asleep at their home in Osborne Road, Birkby, when he and another man, Shaied Iqbal, armed themselves with petrol bombs made from milk bottles which were thrown through the double-glazed lounge window.
During the trial, one surviving member of the Chishti family, Siddiqah Aziz, told how she managed to save her father, Abdul Chishti, from the inferno, but was prevented from coming to the aid of other family members when she was met by a wall of flames.
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 his time in Pakistan he had got married and had four children, before he was extradited back to the UK to face trial.
Speaking on behalf of the Chishti family, surviving family member Mohammed Shafique said: "No sentence can or ever will do true justice to the evil of his crimes.
He told how his father had died in May 2017 and never got to see Mohammed brought to justice.
He said: "He suffered from ill health, but undoubtedly the years of utter heartache caused by Mohammed contributed to his death.
"This evil man killed nine not eight members of our family and he has not shown one ounce of human compassion."