Courts

Thursday 24 July 2014

My loved ones still with me, says doctor as pair get life for fire killings

Nicola Anderson

Published 26/06/2014|02:30

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Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar
Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar

AN IRISH-based doctor who lost his entire family in an arson attack has told how his loved ones are 'still with him', as two men were jailed for life for causing their deaths.

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Dr Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar (below), a neurosurgeon working in a number of Dublin hospitals, lost his wife Shehnila (47), daughter Zainab (19) and sons Bilal (17) and Jamal (15) following the blaze at their Leicestershire home last September. He was in Dublin at the time and had spoken with his family just an hour before the fatal blaze.

Yesterday Tristan Richards (22) was jailed for a minimum of 35 years, while accomplice Kemo Porter (19) was handed a 25-year minimum sentence.

Speaking outside court, Dr Taufiq said he was satisfied with the sentence and accepted "everything" and was now returning to Dublin where he would continue working at the Mater Private.

"My family is with me 24/7 spiritually and these are the main motives for me," he said.

Meanwhile, he said he had decided to sell the house in Leicester, which had been uninsured at the time of the blaze.

Richards and Porter were convicted at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday after a two-month trial in which the jury heard the family had died because their home was mistakenly set alight in a botched revenge attack.

The killers had intended to target a different house in the same area of Wood Hill, Leicester, as they sought to avenge the fatal stabbing of a friend hours earlier.

There were sobs from the public gallery as Mr Justice John Griffith Williams read out the sentences, describing the attack as "premeditated and planned".

"The defendants were out for really significant revenge," he said. He said Richards had gone to the scene with the petrol and Porter with the lighter.

"The horror of what then happened is all too apparent," the judge said.

"The quantity of petrol and the pouring of petrol through the letterbox provide the evidence the plan was that the house was to be consumed by fire, which took hold instantly and spread upstairs. There was, and could not have been, any escape from that ferocious fire."

Six other men cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter over the deaths were also jailed for their part in the crime.

The judge said Dr Taufiq's dignified presence throughout the trial had been "remarkable".

Irish Independent

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