‘I could not save them’: Jury is told how mum tried to rescue children

Killed: Anum Khan

Killed: Anum Khan

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

THE mother of two children killed in an arson attack described to police how she desperately tried to save her son’s life.

Her compelling testimony was heard yesterday at Oxford Crown Court in the trial of Fiaz Munshi, who denies murder.

The jury was told how mum Mehfooz Akhtar put out the flames engulfing her son Majid Khan and also how she tried to break his fall when he threw himself from an upstairs window of their burning home in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, in 1997.

The fire also claimed the life of Mrs Akhtar’s eight-year-old daughter Anum Khan.

Munshi, who was in a relationship with the siblings’ brother, Amjad Khan, is accused of being involved with the fire in revenge for being shamed in a family feud.

Prosecutor Neil Moore told jurors that he would read Mrs Akhtar’s statement in her absence, because it was too upsetting for her to hear it again in full.

He said she told officers she woke in the early hours of August 26 after hearing what sounded like explosions.

She said: “I wanted to get to the front door to find out who may have set fire to the house or if they were still there.

“I ran out on Magdalen Road, but half-way into our front garden a neighbour held me around the top of my body.

“I wanted to run back in through the front door.

“The neighbour is a man who lives opposite. I don’t know his name but I recall him saying ‘don’t go back in’.

“I saw the fire take hold then and flames were visible all over the house.

“I saw several family members exit the house, all from the upstairs. They all came out the same window.

“I can’t remember the exact order in which they came out. I recall Annis putting Keshan through the window.

“Majid was the last to jump out. I tried to put out the flames on his body and to break his fall.”

She added: “I was successful in putting the flames out and now have burns to my face and arms.

“He was covered in flames on his head and upper body. I wasn’t able to break his fall as he hit the ground. He landed in the front garden.

“It was obviously very traumatic. I recall the emergency services arriving and going to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Oxford Mail:

  • Tragic: Majid Khan

“I know Anum was killed in the fire and [yesterday] my son Majid died from his injuries.”

In emotional evidence the jury also heard from the children’s father, Mohamed Khan, who worked as a senior porter at the Radcliffe Infirmary.

He broke down in tears as he told the jury about seeing his daughter Anum for the last time before he left for work at 9pm.

Opening the case last week, Mr Moore said petrol had been squirted through the letterbox and ignited.

Three of Mrs Akhtar’s daughters and grandson Keshan, six, escaped through upstairs windows of the three-bedroom home.

Five men were jailed for the murders in 1998.

Munshi, of Manley Road in Oldham, returned to the UK from Pakistan in 2004. But she wasn’t arrested by police until last October.

The trial continues.

  • Our top stories:

Update: Police say Bicester explosives may have been plundered from protected sites

Oxford Mail:

11:06am Thursday 18th September 2014

WAR munitions discovered this morning at a home in Bicester may have come from illegal metal detecting at heritage sites.

Novelist books in to join Oxford prep school celebrations

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

MIDSOMER Murders creator Anthony Horowitz joined an Oxford school to help celebrate its 150th birthday.

Mullins backs O'Dowda to hit the heights

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

CALLUM O’Dowda has all the attributes to progress and play at a higher level, according to Oxford United teammate Johnny Mullins.

Nearly a third of county five-year-olds have tooth decay

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

ALMOST one in three Oxfordshire five-year-olds has tooth decay, new figures have revealed.

Pilot error blamed for flipping Tiger Moth

Oxford Mail: CROY: Enthusiast hopes Airport House biplane will fly again

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A VINTAGE aircraft owned by a Oxfordshire man crash-landed because of pilot error.

Mum Ruth makes it a world first in hunt for Ebola vaccine

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MUM-of-two from Oxfordshire was the first person in the world to be injected with an Ebola gene yesterday as part of a city-led battle against the deadly virus.

Dad was found hanged in woods

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A father who was missing for six months was found hanged in a Norfolk woods, an inquest in Oxford heard yesterday.

Man admits assault and robberies

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A 22-year-old man admitted assault by beating and affray on the first day of his trial at Oxford Crown Court.

Crash on A40 causes delays

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

Two cars were involved in a crash in North Oxford yesterday.

Man in Taser incident at station still stable

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A knife-wielding man who police fired a Taser at when he scaled a signal gantry at Banbury Station on Monday was still in a stable condition in hospital yesterday.

Man fell into cellar window after leaving pub

Oxford Mail: Oxfordshire County Council county hall

12:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MAN who was “heavily intoxicated” died after falling into a cellar window, an inquest heard yesterday.

Oldest ex-pupil at 92 joins fun at school’s birthday bash to mark 100th year

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

More than 10,000 pupils and members of staff have passed through Headington School’s gates since they opened in 1915.

By-election for Quarry and Risinghurst

Oxford Mail: Councillors Dee Sinclair and Laurence Baxter want residents to be able to be use the closed A40 junction

7:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

The by-election for Quarry and Risinghurst will take place today.

Documentary follows friends’ Wantage house share

Oxford Mail: Rebrand for all of ITV's channels

7:40am Thursday 18th September 2014

Four adult friends with various learning disabilities moving in together in Wantage will be the subject of an ITV documentary tonight at 7.30pm.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree