A WOMAN will face court today charged with murdering two siblings in Oxford’s Magdalen Road fire more than 16 years ago.
Fiaz Munshi, 38, was arrested by detectives in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Tuesday and charged yesterday over the arson attack in 1997 that killed eight-year-old Anum Khan and her brother Majid, 15, in East Oxford in August 1997.
Last night, their mother Mehfooz Khan welcomed news of the arrest by Thames Valley Police’s major crime unit and revealed she has never been able to visit the children’s graves because questions remained unanswered.
Five men were convicted and jailed for life for murder in 1998, and their trial was told Munshi had left the UK for Pakistan.
Mrs Khan said: “As a mother of these beautiful innocent children I have been waiting for 16 years for this day and I have not been able to visit my son and daughter, Majid and Anum, since they were innocently taken away from me.
“Once justice has been done I have promised myself I will visit Majid and Anum for the first time after 15 years.”
At the time of the first trial in 1998, the family called for Munshi to be brought back from Pakistan.
The Khans’ three-bedroom terrace house in Magdalen Road was set alight shortly after 3am on Tuesday, August 26, 1997.
The killers squirted petrol through the letterbox before lighting a match and posting it through.
Father Mohammed Khan was working a nightshift at the Radcliffe Infirmary while his wife, four of their daughters, son Majid, and six-year-old grandson were in the house.
Anum could not escape the blaze and died from smoke inhalation. She was found curled up by a window in a bedroom at the back of the house.
Her brother Majid jumped from the first-floor window to escape the flames but died two days later after suffering severe burns, smoke inhalation, and a head injury.
Munshi, of Manley Road in Oldham was last night being held in police custody ahead of her appearance at Oxford Magistrates’ Court today.
Ten people have so far been convicted of crimes in connection with the case. The Oxford Mail understands three people remain in prison today but has not been able to confirm which of the defendants they are.
In 2008, a memorial garden to Anum was created at the Comper Foundation Stage School in Hertford Street, East Oxford – the site of her old school SS Mary and John Primary.
Teenager Majid was a talented cricketer and the annual Majid Khan Memorial Tournament was set up in his name.