FIAZ MUNSHI has been found guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder over the deaths of two children in an arson attack in East Oxford in 1997.
The 38-year-old was convicted after a six-week trial at Oxford Crown Court of being involved in an arson attack in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, on August 26, 1997.
She denied murdering eight-year-old Anum Khan and her 15-year-old brother Majid after she was shamed in a family feud.
On both murder counts the jury found her not guilty.
But this afternoon there were gasps from the public gallery as the jury announced its unanimous decision after one-and-a-half days of deliberating.
Munshi had fled the country following the arson but returned in 2005. Police were told she was backed but did not follow that up and arrest her until 2013.
Today Detective Inspector Craig Kirby said he had apologised to the Khan family for that blunder.
He said: "I know the original investigation team did all they could to bring her to justice at the time.
"We regret the fact that the mistake that happened has led to this delay but that was not going to stop us proceeding with this case and facing whatever criticism there may be."
Munshi is now the seventh person to be convicted in relation to the fire, after five men received life sentences for murder in 1998 and her sister Riaz was jailed for manslaughter in 1999.
Munshi was not charged until October last year because a police error meant she was not arrested for nine years after returning to the UK from Pakistan.
The jury was told the Khan’s home was targeted amid a dispute between Munshi her sister Riaz and the family living there.
She will be sentenced on Thursday.
Mr Kirby, from the police's major crime unit, said: "I cannot put in to words how difficult this case has been for the family of Anum and Majid and I know how important this verdict is to them.
"I am grateful that we have finally been able to bring their long wait for justice to an end as the last person involved in this horrendous fire in 1997 has been convicted.
"I cannot praise the family enough, for their dignity, patience and courage throughout this lengthy investigation and trial, despite the unimaginable nightmare they have had to endure.
"Enquiries undertaken following the call from the family in 2012 have not established why action was not taken by TVP in 2005 to investigate the evidence against Fiaz Munshi however as soon as we identified this new opportunity to bring her to justice a full review of the case was conducted.
"I hope the verdict today sends a very clear message to anyone who thinks they have escaped justice that no matter how much time has passed we will continue to pursue you and bring you before the courts, no matter how long it takes."
Our top stories:
5:00am Monday 27th April 2015
A “RAT RUN” road needs to be tackled after two pet cats were killed in two days with fears a child could be next, campaigners said.
12:34pm Sunday 26th April 2015
A MAN was punched after being forced to hand over his phone and cash to man on Wood Farm Road, police said.
UPDATE: Mayfair Road man appears in court on Barton murder charge as alleged victim is named as Wojciech Ryniak
11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.
9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.
1:56pm Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a stun gun after an incident in Mayfair Road on Tuesday evening.
12:00pm Saturday 25th April 2015
WILD boar have been spotted in parts of Oxfordshire.