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Mother 'urged children to escape' fatal Tooting fire

20 April 10 12:54 GMT

A mother, who lost her daughters to a fatal fire in south London, shouted out to her four children to escape before jumping out, the Old Bailey has heard.

Rubina Masud said she saw "flames everywhere" at their home in Lessingham Avenue, Tooting. Once out, she realised three of her children remained inside.

Maleha and Nabiha Masud, aged 15 and 21, died in the fire allegedly started by Maleha's former boyfriend last June.

Shihabuddin Choudhury, 20, Rasal Khan, 18, and a boy aged 14 deny murder.

Mr Khan, of Earl Howe Street, Leicester; Mr Choudhury, of Coventry Road, Nottingham; and the boy also deny the attempted murder of Maleha and Nabiha's mother and their two brothers, Junaid, 18, and 24-year-old Zain Masud.

'Shouting for help'

Mrs Masud, 55, was asked to confirm an earlier statement she had made about the fire, which was read in court by prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw QC.

In the statement she said she was "half asleep" when she was "woken by a whoosh from a strong gust of wind".

She said: "I then heard my son Zain shout 'fire', I jumped out of bed. When I got to the bedroom door I could see flames everywhere.

"I was shouting to my children to get out of the house. The heat was intense. I managed to make my way to Zain's bedroom. The window was open.

"I couldn't see Zain and assumed he had already jumped out. I jumped from this window and landed on the concrete below.

"I could hear Zain shouting for help. I looked round for my other children but couldn't see them.

"I assumed Nabiha would have followed directly behind me but she was nowhere to be seen," she added.

Maleha, Nabiha and Junaid Masud were rescued by firefighters.

Maleha died three days later while Nabiha, who had become engaged shortly before the incident, died a month later.

On Monday the jury was told that the 14-year-old set fire to the house after his relationship with Maleha ended.

The trial continues.

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