"I've got nothing to hide" arson death defendant tells jury

.

.

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

ARSONISTS who killed a young brother and sister in a house fire 17 years ago have been branded “evil and sick” by a woman accused of murder.

Fiaz Munshi broke down on the witness stand as she told jurors she knew nothing about the fire that killed Anum, eight, and her brother Majid, 15, in 1997.

She swore on the lives on her own four children that she had no idea that an arson attack was planned for the house in Magdalen Road, Oxford.

The 38-year-old is accused of plotting a revenge attack when she was 21, amidst a bitter argument with former boyfriend Amjad Khan’s family, who lived at the house.

The mother-of-four began giving evidence at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

When her barrister Stephen Kamlish asked her what she thought of those responsible, she said: “I think they are evil and sick to do something like that.”

Munshi admitted she was part of the group that travelled to Oxford on the night of the blaze, but said she thought she was going for a fight.

She said: “I swear on my four children’s lives s Continued on Page 2 I did not know about a fire that was going to happen.

“If I had known I would not have got in that car.”

Five men - including her former boyfriend Haq Nawaz - were convicted of the murders in 1998. Her older sister Riaz was convicted of manslaughter a year later.

Jurors heard Munshi left the UK three months after the fire to be with her ill father in Pakistan.

But the former Donnington Middle School pupil said she was not afraid when she returned to the UK in 2004, adding: “Why should I not come back? I have not done anything wrong, I have got nothing to hide.

“I am not guilty of murder.”

Munshi said she was arrested at her Oldham home in October last year - five days after she reported a crime in her street.

And she told jurors her four children, the oldest of whom is 12, still thought she was abroad with her parents.

Prosecutors say Munshi plotted the fire when she was banished from Oxford for fighting with the Khan family.

It was said the Khans blamed her and her friends when their son Amjad was sent to prison for dealing heroin.

But Munshi yesterday said her older brothers had told her and her sister to leave their home, in Freelands Road, because Riaz refused to take part in an arranged marriage in Pakistan.

Munshi also told jurors she was in her pyjamas and ready to go to bed on the night of the fire.

She told the court that was when then-boyfriend Nawaz told her to come to Oxford to fight Shehnaz Akhtar - the older sister of her ex-boyfriend.

She said: “I agreed because I was scared of him.

“I would have pulled her hair and punched her but nothing more.

“He lied because he had another plan up his sleeve which I never knew anything about.”

And she said she lied to police after the fire because Nawaz told her to stick to his story or she would go to prison for a long time.

The trial continues.

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

  • Our top stories

Attack in Oxford city centre leaves two men needing hospital treatment

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.

What have our brilliant columnists said this week - choose your favourite in our interactive collage

Oxford Mail:

4:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

Just what have our thought-provoking columnists been writing about this week? Catch up with our interactive collage giving you a choice from 9 of the best

Our interactive spread of the week's best photos: but what are the stories behind the pictures

Oxford Mail:

3:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

We've had some wonderful pictures this week - here's our interactive spread with links to the stories behind the photos

Oxfordshire callers to police's 101 number urged to stay on line amid problems

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.

Brainpower is the key for Oxford United says head coach Michael Appleton

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.

6 things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend

Oxford Mail: Terry Wogan at the fund raising reception

11:34am Friday 21st November 2014

Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.

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