Waiter found guilty of revenge murders

A waiter was today found guilty of helping his schoolboy cousin take revenge on his ex-girlfriend by murdering her in a house fire.

Shihabouddin Choudhury, 21, of Coventry Road, Nottingham, was recruited by 14-year-old Akmol Miah to help torch the home of Maleha Masud.



Maleha and her 21-year-old sister Nabiha died as as result of the blaze which took place in June last year in Tooting, south London.



Miah, now 15, of Broadway Avenue, Croydon, was convicted of their murders yesterday at the Old Bailey by a unanimous verdict, as well as the attempted murders of the girls' brothers Zain and Junaid, and mother Rubina.



Choudhury was today found guilty of the same counts by 11-1 majority.



Both face life sentences when they are sentenced on July 9.



A third defendant, 19-year-old waiter Rasal Khan, of Earl Howe Street, Leicester, was cleared of all the charges.



The court heard that the fire was started by petrol poured through the Masud family's letterbox in revenge after Miah was dumped by Maleha.



A day before he searched on Google for "how to burn someone's house down".



Zain, a 24-year-old banker, A-level student Junaid, 18, and mother Rubina, 55, survived the blaze but said they faced a "life sentence" of grief after the deaths of Maleha, the "baby of the family", and Nabiha, who was engaged to be married.

Mrs Masud wept as she said: "I miss them a lot."



Zain said: "It is hard to contemplate why anyone would do such a thing."



Maleha died three days after the fire and Nabiha a month later.



Junaid was rescued from the flames by firefighters while Zain and Mrs Masud leapt to safety from a first floor window,



Miah - who can be named today after reporting restrictions were lifted - wept as he was found guilty of the girls' murders yesterday.



The court heard he had previously threatened Maleha that if she did not continue their relationship he would "do something to her and her family".



Jonathan Laidlaw, QC, prosecuting, said that Maleha had been in a "relationship of sorts" with the boy, who was 14 at the time, but it was not a serious one.



"The two of them broke up and it was then that (the boy) threatened Maleha that if she did not continue in the relationship he would do something to her and her family," he added.



"Why he should arrive at the extraordinary decision to burn down their house is really impossible to understand. It was obviously not the reaction of an ordinary and normal 14-year-old, however hurt he might feel about losing a girlfriend."



After the fire, police said they were faced with a "real whodunit" but found out about Maleha's relationship with the boy after visits to schools and an appeal to the community by local Labour MP Sadiq Khan.



When the boy was arrested for murder he said: "I can't believe she is dead."



A search of the computer in his bedroom found he had looked up how to burn someone's house down on Google and that pictures of the burnt and boarded-up property had been downloaded from the news websites and stored as the screensaver.



The boy, who looked several years older than his 15 years, claimed in court he loved Maleha and he did not start the fire - although he said he had been jealous of her talking to other boys.



Judge Christopher Moss ordered psychiatric and psychological reports on Miah after expressing his concern at "the apparent confidence with which he appeared to give evidence".



"This is a young man who seems to me to be mature beyond his years," he said.



News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering