‘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:

Woman raped in Headington flat

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:24pm Saturday 20th September 2014

A WOMAN was followed into a Headington flat and raped this morning. 

Police manhunt after teenager raped in city centre

Oxford Mail:

11:57am Saturday 20th September 2014

A TEENAGER was raped in central Oxford this morning by a man she met in a nightclub.

Referendum vote gives PM a spring in his step

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

WITNEY MP David Cameron has congratulated the people of Burford for organising a mock “referendum” on the issue of Scottish independence – but has admitted he was more relieved to find out the result of the actual poll.

Oxford United Wright issues warning

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

Jake Wright believes it will be key for Oxford United to avoid getting dragged into a physical contest if they are to build on a midweek win when Stevenage visit today.

It's off - three-day city festival is cancelled

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

A THREE-day festival set to take place on Oxford’s South Park next weekend has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales and rumours that one of its big name stars had pulled out.

Man hurt in A40 crash

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Saturday 20th September 2014

An 85-year-old man was last night in hospital with back injuries following a crash on the A40 on Thursday.

Cocaine dealer jailed

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:40am Saturday 20th September 2014

A man who tried to escape from police carrying £200,000 worth of cocaine in his car has been jailed.

Two women sexually harassed by cyclist

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Saturday 20th September 2014

A cyclist who sexually harassed two women is being hunted by police.

Man missing for days

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

A SEARCH has been launched to find a missing man.

Heavy rain warning

Oxford Mail: May Thunderstorm

8:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

A YELLOW weather warning for rain is in place across the county this morning.

Superstar Annie supports city art event

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

EURYTHMICS star Annie Lennox has given her backing to an Oxford artist’s fundraiser to support an Oxfam project in Niger.

Search for more explosives is continuing

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

A HOUSE in Bicester which was raided by police looking for explosives on Thursday is still being searched by officers.

Man with the special spade is Gravedigger of the Year

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th September 2014

THE man who “made good” the grave in which Didcot schoolgirl Jayden Parkinson was buried by her killer has been named Gravedigger of the Year.

'He was like Jekyll and Hyde but drug means he's calmer'

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th September 2014

FOR Alison Thomson, living with a son with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been like living with “Jekyll and Hyde”.

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