38-year-old Oldham woman sentenced for manslaughter of two children in house fire
A woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for the manslaughter of two children in Oxford in 1997.
Fiaz Begum Munshi, 38, of Manley Road, Oldham in Lancashire, was found guilty of manslaughter of eight-year-old Anum Khan and her 15-year-old brother Majid at Oxford Crown Court and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Munshi had travelled to the home of Amjad Khan, with seven other people after he broke off their relationship.
Petrol was poured through the letterbox of the house, in which seven members of the Khan/Akhtar family had been asleep, sparking a deadly blaze.
Fire service were called to a property which was on fire in Magdalen Road, Oxford at around 3.20am that night.
Six of the seven occupants escaped from the house; however Anum died in the fire and her 15-year-old brother Majid, suffered severe burns to his head, and body and despite being taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford died two days later on 28 August 1997.
Searches conducted by the police would later locate two plastic bottles which contained petrol at a telephone kiosk near to the scene.
Following the fire, Fiaz Munshi and others were arrested on suspicion of murder on 23 September 1997.
Due to insufficient evidence to charge her, she was released from custody and on 9 December Fiaz Munshi flew to Pakistan.
Just two days later as a result of new evidence a number of arrests were made, with six people charged in connection with the murder of Anum and Majid.
In October and November 1998 they were tried for the murders at Birmingham Crown Court. Five of them, Alan Swanton, then 19, from Letchworth, Thomas Liedl, then 19,from Letchworth, Mohammed Nawaz, then 21, from Letchworth, Haq Nawaz, then 30, from Letchworth and Haroon Sharif, then 21 from Letchworth were convicted of murder and jailed for life.
The jury could not reach a verdict on the sixth – Fiaz Munshi’s sister, Riaz Munshi, then 26 from London, who was discharged and re-tried the following year, convicted of manslaughter and sentence to 12 years in prison.
In the autumn of 2012 a member of the Khan/Akhtar family contacted Thames Valley Police and made enquiries about Fiaz Munshi. As a direct result of that call, enquiries established that information had been received in 2005 that indicated she had returned to the UK from Pakistan.
Following the discovery of this information the TVP Major Crime Unit worked with the Crown Prosecution Service to re-open the investigation leading to Fiaz Munshi being arrested and subsequently charged in October 2013.
In a statement read after the sentence, Shenaz Akhtar, the sister of Anum and Majid, said: “I would like to begin by thanking Allah for allowing justice to be done.
“We would also like to thank Mr Moore, Mr Roakes, Mr Kirby, Mr Storor, Miss Dactler and Mr Jones, the entire TVP team, the CPS, the media and all those who have been involved now and past 17 years.
“It has taken 17 years for Fiaz Munshi to be brought to justice for the killings of Majid and Anum. This is despite members of the Oxford community who have known the whereabouts of Fiaz Munshi ever since she fled the UK.
“Finally after 17 years we can now grieve properly and visit Majid and Anum’s grave together for the first time as a family and first time with our parents.
“Majid and Anum who will always remain deep within our hearts.”