A HUDDERSFIELD man currently serving an 18-year jail term for an arson which killed eight members of the same Huddersfield family is today challenging his convictions at London’s Court of Appeal.
Nazar Hussain, of Crosland Moor, was found guilty of eight counts of manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court in 2003 – and will today claim his legal team has fresh scientific evidence that undermines his conviction.
The blaze wiped out three generations of the same family, including five children aged from six months to 13.
At the same trial, Shakiel Shazad was also convicted of the same offences, while Shaied Iqbal was found guilty of eight murders.
A fourth man, Shahid Mohammed, is wanted in connection with the blaze but went on the run. He is still missing despite repeated pleas by senior detectives for people to tell them where he is.
At one point it is thought he was hiding in Pakistan, but also has links with London, Birmingham and Leicester.
He will now be 26 and fled after being arrested during the initial investigation.
He is Huddersfield’s most wanted man and in August Crimestoppers put a £10,000 bounty on his head for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Hussain, Shazad and Iqbal set fire to a family home in Birkby in May 2002 killing Muhammad Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, Nefessa Aziz, 35 and her children Tayyaba Batool, 13, Rabia Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and six-month-old Najeeba Nawaz.
The children’s grandmother, Zaib-un-Nisa, 54, died in hospital a week later.
There were three survivors – her husband, former Imam at a Birkby Mosque Mr Abdul Aziz Chishti, their daughter, Siddiqa Aziz and son Mohammed Shafique.
Hussain’s challenge against his convictions was due to start at the Court of Appeal yesterday, but the case was adjourned when he didn’t set off from Leeds Prison where he is being held until 10am.
Hussain – 24 when he was found guilty – said he wanted to be present when his case was argued and declined to allow his legal team to proceed in his absence.
Lord Justice Goldring, Mr Justice Foskett and Judge Peter Jacobs were told that when the case begins today Hussain’s legal team will say that fresh scientific evidence undermines the prosecution case.
Jerome Lynch QC, for Hussain, said the appeal will focus on a “narrow issue,’’ adding that there are concerns over some of the original expert evidence given on behalf of the Crown at the trial.
However, Mr Lynch said that he would not be arguing during the two-day appeal that the jury were ‘misdirected’ during the trial judge’s summing up.
At Leeds Crown Court it was the prosecution case that the attack was carried out because Iqbal and Mohammed had a grudge against one of the victims, Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman.
Iqbal, Shazad and Hussain were said to have thrown petrol bombs at the terraced house where 11 people were staying at the time.
Anyone with information on Shahid Mohammed should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.