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

Killed: Anum Khan

Killed: Anum Khan

First published in News
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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.

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