Eight convicted of arson attack that killed four
Two face jail for murder of wife and three children of Dublin-based surgeon
Dublin-based surgeon Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar lost his wife, daughter and two sons in the fire at their home in Leicester. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA Wire
Eight young men, including two who face jail for murder, have been convicted of involvement in an arson attack on a home in Leicester that killed the wife, two sons and daughter of a Dublin-based surgeon.
Six more – Shaun Carter (24), Nathaniel Jarvis Mullings (19), Jackson George Powell (20), Aaron Moses Webb (20), all from Leicester; Akeem Tesfatyrone Jeffers (21), from Leeds; and Cairo Parker (17), of Wood Hill, were convicted of manslaughter. The last was identified yesterday for the first time because reporting restrictions were lifted.
Nottingham Crown Court was told Richards had poured petrol on the front door of the home in Wood Hill, with the assistance of Porter – the others admitted that they were at the scene but denied knowing what was going to happen. Shanilal Taufiq (48), her daughter Zainab (20) and her two sons, Bilal (18) and Jamal (15), died when the arsonists struck in the early hours of Friday, September 13th.
Her husband, Dublin-based neurosurgeon Dr Muhammad Taufiq al-Sattar was woken in the early hours by gardaí, who informed him of the deaths. He rushed to Leicester to be at the scene.
The home because the gang mistakenly believed it housed a man who had attacked 20- year-old Antoin Akpom in the city earlier that night – a stabbing that led to Akpom’s death in hospital a short time later.
Each of those convicted yesterday were friends of Akpom, and they went quickly in search of revenge. Following a number of journeys elsewhere in city they came to the family’s door at 12.30am.
CCTV tapes, automatic number plate recognition technology, phone data and tracker data were produced to show Porter came in one car, along with Carter, Webb and Richards, while Mullings came with Powell, Jeffers and Parker.
CCTV footage showed the men leaving their cars as a fireball erupted at the house. Forensic investigators later showed it had been caused when petrol poured through the letterbox was ignited.
The footage showed the attackers fleeing the scene following the fireball. The four victims, who had been asleep upstairs at the time of the attack, were unable to escape. Postmortems later showed they had died from smoke inhalation.
Dr Taufiq repeatedly appealed for calms in the hours and days after the attack, despite his grief. Police, politicians and others said this played a vital role in dampening community tensions.
Leicestershire Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister paid tribute to him: “He’s inspired a number of the officers on the [investigating] team, in terms of the way he has dealt with the tragedy, and the dignity and understanding that he has shown.”
Det Supt Kate Maynell of Nottingham, who led the investigation, said: “You cannot help but be touched by the tragic consequences of what’s happened and what would appear to be an impulsive, misguided act by some young men who believed they were seeking revenge for their friend’s death. But the consequences . . . are tragic and I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like for Dr Taufiq.”
Dr Taufiq will make a statement to the court next Tuesday, while the men will face sentencing next Wednesday.