Family of four died as part of suspected botched revenge attack over the murder of Leicester sports teacher Antoin Akpom, court told


Crime Correspondent

A family of four died inside their burning home after a suspected botched revenge attack hours after the murder of a young fitness instructor in an unrelated turf feud, a court has heard.

Shehnila Taufiq, 47, her teenage sons Jamal and Bilal and daughter Zainab, 19, died after their home in Leicester was targeted for an arson attack in what prosecutors said could have been a case of mistaken identity following the murder five-and-a-half hours earlier. The Taufiq family had no connection with the earlier incident.

The family lived just two doors from the mother of a teenager accused of murdering Antoin Akpom, 20, after the pair had been involved in a year-long but unspecified dispute. Stafford Crown Court heard that the pair was involved in a heated confrontation in the street before Mr Akpom returned with nine other men from his local gym.

CCTV cameras caught the moments before and after Mr Akpom fought with Mr Hakim and his friend, Hussain Hussain, but missed the vital 15 seconds when the instructor was knifed fatally in the back and suffered a punctured lung.

The two men fled the scene and travelled to London in a taxi on the night of the attack but Mr Hakim was captured at Kings Cross Station 24 hours later, the court heard.

Mr Hakim, who told officers that he sometimes carried a knife for his own protection, said in a police interview was travelling back to Leicester because he had “heard about the fire on my street,” the court was told.

“At 12.30am that night, five-and-a-half hours after Akpom had died, there was an arson attack outside the front door of a family who lived in Leicester but two doors away from Hakim mother's home,” said Richard Latham QC, counsel for the prosecution.

“The fire caused the deaths of the four occupants of that home. The tragic case is that the occupants had nothing to do with the [earlier] incident.

“If it had anything to do with the stabbing, they got the wrong house. It was a ghastly, ghastly event,” said Mr Latham.

Mr Latham said those suspected of committing the arson attack would go on trial in a few weeks at another court.

Mr Hakim and Mr Hussain have both been charged for murder under the law of joint of enterprise even though prosecutors say that they believe that Mr Hussain inflicted the fatal blow.

In interviews with police, both men accepted that they were at the scene of the fight but blamed each other for the attack.

Mr Hussain said in his statement that his co-defendant had told him that he had stabbed the victim because he was scared of getting hurt. Mr Hussain told police that Mr Akpom had been unhappy because Mr Hakim was “walking in his area”.

But Mr Hakim said he never saw a knife during the confrontation and told police where they could find Mr Hussain's top that he discarded as they fled the scene. Mr Latham told the court that the pair travelled together to London but split up the following day.

Mr Hussain took a taxi to Potters Bar where he collected a brown packet containing £3-4,000, the court heard. He told the driver that he planned go abroad for a couple of months until the heat died down because the police were after him, the jury of eight men and four women were told.

The driver took him to Stansted Airport where he tried to buy an EasyJet ticket but did not have any travel documents. He was told he could fly to Scotland but did not like the idea, the court heard, and instead took a £200 taxi journey to Cardiff where he was arrested more than two weeks after Mr Akpom's killing.

The two men, who are separated in the dock by a security officer, deny murder.

The case continues.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London