Two men guilty of killing eight people in petrol bomb attack on house

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Two men were convicted yesterday of killing three generations of a family in an arson attack provoked by the exposure of a secret love affair.

Shaied Iqbal, 26, attacked the family's home in Huddersfield in May last year because he blamed one of the residents, Mohammed ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, for spreading gossip that led to the woman's parents finding out about the forbidden relationship.Iqbal and Nazar Hussain, 24, started the fire with petrol bombs and by pouring petrol through the letter box.

The blaze killed Mr Rehman, his five nieces, aged six months to 13 years, and their mother. The girls' grandmother died from her injuries a week later. Iqbal was found guilty of eight counts of murder by a jury at Leeds Crown Court after a six-week trial. Hussain was cleared of murder but convicted of eight counts of manslaughter, by a majority of 10 to two.

The court was told that the men drove to the Birkby area of Huddersfield in two cars with a petrol can, firebombs and a lighter. The prosecution said they had shown "not a shred of genuine remorse" and were "blaming each other, blaming everyone but themselves, in an effort to save their skins".

Iqbal admitted the men went to the house to set fire to it but said they believed it was empty. He said his role was to throw stones at Mr Rehman's car.

He told the court: "None of us intended to hurt anyone that night." But the court was also told that Iqbal laughed, joked and boasted about starting the fire to a friend.

Hussain said he only joined the mission to set fire to a car and was shocked when he realised what was happening. Police found his fingerprints on a petrol can near by, and a pair of surgical gloves.

The jury, which has been deliberating for three days, was sent home until tomorrow after failing to reach verdicts against a third man, Shakiel Shazad, 23, also from Huddersfield, who is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit arson. Shazad has told the court he only went to act as a lookout while the others set fire to cars.

A fourth defendant, Anwar Hussain, 22, was cleared of the only charge he was facing - conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles by arson.

Those who died were Mr Rehman, Tayyaba Batool, aged 13, Rabiah Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, six, Aneesa Nawaz, two, Najeeba Nawaz, six months, the girls' mother Nafeesa Aziz, 35, and their grandmother, Zaib-un-Nisa, aged 54.