Sisters killed in house fire after jilted boyfriend ‘put petrol through letterbox’

Maleha and Nabiha Masud

Tragic sisters: [right] Maleha and Nabiha Masud

Two sisters died in a fire started by a
14-year-old boy in revenge for the break-up of his teenage romance, the Old Bailey heard today.

The youth recruited two older men to help pour petrol through the letterbox of his victims’ family home in Tooting, the jury was told.

The day before the attack he had carried out a Google search for information on “how to burn someone’s house down”, the court heard.

As the fire raged the mother and elder son leapt for their lives from an upstairs window. A second son was rescued by firefighters and survived after 45 days in intensive care.

But the two sisters, Maleha, 15, and 21-year-old Nabiha Masud, both died in hospital.

The 14-year-old had been in “a relationship of sorts” with Maleha and had threatened her when it finished, said Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting. “I say a relationship of sorts’ because although they had regarded and described themselves as boyfriend and girlfriend it was certainly not a serious or long-standing relationship,” Mr Laidlaw continued.

“The two of them broke up and it was then that he threatened Maleha that if she did not continue he would do something to her and her family.”

In the early hours in June last year the mother, Rubina Masud, awoke to the cries of “fire” from her elder son Zain, who is now 24 and a City banker with Nomura.

“She made her way to his bedroom but he had already jumped out of the window,” said Mr Laidlaw.

“Faced with the fire and intense heat Mrs Masud also jumped to the ground. There, to her horror, she found it was only she and Zain who had escaped.”

Neighbours tried to help before firefighters fought their way through the flames to try to reach those trapped in the house.

Younger son Junaid, then 17, was found in his bedroom having suffered serious inhalation damage to his lungs but after weeks of hospital treatment survived. He shared a room with Maleha who was found curled up at the bottom of her bunk bed. She had stopped breathing and a policeman revived her. But she suffered brain damage and carbon monoxide poisoning and died three days later.

Nabiha, who was due to be married in four months, was badly burned and poisoned by the fumes. She died in hospital a month later.

Shihabouddin Choudhury, 20, from Nottingham, Rasal Khan, 18, of Leicester and the youth from Croydon, who cannot be named, have pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The trial continues.

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