JURORS have been told to put emotions aside when they decide if a mother-of-four killed two children in an arson attack 17 years ago.
Justice Robin Spencer yesterday began summing up at Oxford Crown Court in the double murder trial of Fiaz Munshi.
The 38-year-old denies murdering Anum Khan, eight, and her brother Majid, 15, in a house fire in Magdalen Road, Oxford, in 1997.
Mr Justice Spencer firstly asked the jury to try to remember what they were doing in August 1997.
He said: “Just a few days later the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana. For the Khan Akhtar family here in Oxford the family were mourning their own tragedy.”
Giving the jury legal directions he said they should convict Munshi of the murders only if they were sure she intended to kill or cause serious harm to anyone in the house.
He also said Munshi would be guilty if the jury found she knew about the plan to burn the house down and encouraged others to do it.
But he said jurors could convict Munshi of manslaughter if they found she unlawfully caused the death of the siblings, intended to cause bodily harm, or realised there was a risk someone would suffer some bodily harm.
But he warned jurors to leave emotion out of their decision making.
He said: “In a case as harrowing as this there is a danger of influence by sympathy. You must put aside all feelings of sympathy and empathy in this case.”
The judge is expected to finish summing-up the case today.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS and SPORT 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
'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration
1:34pm Friday 24th October 2014
ADMINISTRATORS have been handed full management responsibility for the Caterham Formula One team in a bid to find a new buyer.
11:40am Friday 24th October 2014
HUNDREDS of people have gathered outside St Mary Magdalene's church in Woodstock to pay their respects to the 11th Duke of Marlborough.
1:01pm Friday 24th October 2014
AN ELDERLY woman was taken to hospital after two cars crashed on the A4074.
9:30am Friday 24th October 2014
James Roberts is in no mood to rest on his laurels as the young Oxford United striker looks to feature in a fourth successive game when they visit Carlisle United tomorrow.
7:00am Friday 24th October 2014
A £110m cancer research centre is planned for Headington to study pioneering treatment with hundreds of county patients.
6:30am Friday 24th October 2014
MULTIPLE roadworks that cause city traffic gridlock are “worth it”, a minister has said.