Schoolboy jailed for life over fatal house fire

By John-Paul Ford Rojas,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:58

A schoolboy who took revenge for being dumped by killing his ex-girlfriend and her older sister in a house fire was jailed for life today.

Akmol Miah, 15, must serve at least 23 years behind bars for murdering 15-year-old Maleha Masud and Nabiha Masud, 21, at their home in Tooting, south London.

Miah, who was 14 at the time, searched on Google for "how to burn someone's house down" the day before the attack in June last year.

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

Judge Christopher Moss told Miah: "These dreadful events happened for no better reason than that you wanted to inflict revenge on Maleha and her family for the fact that she ended your relationship."

The teenager recruited his cousin, waiter Shihabouddin Choudhury, to help start the fierce blaze by pouring petrol through the Masuds' letterbox and setting light to it as the family slept.

Choudhury, 21, was also jailed for life today and told he must serve at least 21 years in jail.

Maleha, described as "the baby of the family", died three days after the fire and elder sister Nabiha - who had been due to marry in October - after a month.

The girls' mother Rubina, 55, and brothers Zain, a 24-year-old banker, and schoolboy Junaid, 18, survived their injuries.

Miah, of Broadway Avenue, Croydon, and Choudhury, of Coventry Road, Nottingham, were both found guilty of murdering the two sisters and the attempted murders of Rubina, Zain and Junaid.

The girls' mother said: "There are no words that can highlight the crippling grief, pain and agony that I am experiencing.

"Nabiha was so happy, planning her wedding. Maleha was my baby, the youngest of the family - she had her life ahead of her."

In a victim impact statement read out at the Old Bailey, Mrs Masud said the fire had not only killed her daughters but destroyed belongings including clothes and photos by which she could have remembered them.

She said of the killers: "They have given me a life sentence. What did we do to deserve this?

"What caused such hate for the perpetrators of this to carry out such a blatantly damaging, evil, cold-hearted and malicious attack?"

The judge said that, were it not for the prompt actions of passers-by in raising the alarm, the killers "might well have succeeded in wiping out the entire family" as they intended.

He told them they had remained in the area for a short time afterwards, "no doubt to witness of the results of your dreadful actions".

It must have been "horrific" for Mrs Masud after she escaped from the house to realise her children were still inside, he added.

The judge said Miah had devised the plan and he was "concerned" at the "apparent confidence" with which he gave lying evidence during his trial.

A report described him as "compulsive" and fearful of the rejection of others.

The judge said: "I am faced with a boy who, at the age of 14, planned and carried out this murderous attack and who is still in denial."

While Choudhury had gone along with it, the judge accepted that he suffered from "mental and cognitive disabilities".