‘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:

'Major hope' that Caterham factory in Leafield could re-open despite F1 team also going into administration

Oxford Mail:

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.

UPDATE: Hundreds line Woodstock's streets for 11th Duke of Marlborough's funeral

Oxford Mail:

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.

Elderly woman taken to hospital after A4074 crash

Oxford Mail: a4074 alert

1:01pm Friday 24th October 2014

AN ELDERLY woman was taken to hospital after two cars crashed on the A4074. 

FOOTBALL Rising star Roberts eager for Oxford United first-team action as Morris returns to Norwich

Oxford Mail:

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.

Blueprint for a £110m cancer research centre

Oxford Mail: Oxford Univesity logo white lettering blue background new logo

7:00am Friday 24th October 2014

A £110m cancer research centre is planned for Headington to study pioneering treatment with hundreds of county patients.

City roadworks hassle is worthwhile, says minister

Oxford Mail: OCC Cabinet member for transport, David Nimmo-Smith.

6:30am Friday 24th October 2014

MULTIPLE roadworks that cause city traffic gridlock are “worth it”, a minister has said.

Temporary Oxpens car park will have only half the space

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Friday 24th October 2014

A TEMPORARY replacement car park for Oxford’s Westgate multi-storey will provide less than half the number of spaces at present, it has been announced.

Oxfordshire bid for record Poppy Appeal total to mark centenary of start of First World War

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 23rd October 2014

PEOPLE in Oxfordshire are being urged to help break the £500,000 barrier for the first time as this year’s Poppy Appeal is launched today.

Judge criticises "catastrophic" CPS after trial postponement

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

2:30pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

A JUDGE has criticised a “catastrophic failure” by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which caused a trial to be put off until next year.

Hot-shot Danny Hylton on a high at Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 23rd October 2014

DANNY Hylton thinks he is playing the best football of his career after a brace for Oxford United on Tuesday night made it ten goals for the season already.

Oxford's Lord Mayor gives ancient city walls the once-over

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 23rd October 2014

NOT crumbling too much and graffiti free: Oxford’s ancient city walls were given a clean bill of health in yesterday’s traditional inspection.

Hook Norton farm trailers stolen

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Thursday 23rd October 2014

Food trailers were stolen from a Hook Norton farm over Tuesday night and yesterday morning.

More Oxfordshire churches ‘at risk’ says heritage group

Oxford Mail: DISTINCTIVE: The English Heritage flag will be flown most of the time

8:40am Thursday 23rd October 2014

Eight Oxfordshire churches have been added to English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register.

Faringdon comes third in ranking of 'hotspot' places for families to live

Oxford Mail: Faringdon Folly Tower Open Day

8:40am Thursday 23rd October 2014

FARINGDON is the third best place for families to live in England and Wales, a new report claims.

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