Eight Defendants Sentenced to Minimum of 134 Years
Eight defendants convicted for their part in a fire that killed a family of four in Leicester have been sentenced to a minimum of 134 years in custody.
Kemo Anthony Porter (18) of Browning Street, Leicester, and Tristan Richards (23) of Sparkenhoe Street, Leicester, were convicted of murder by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday June 23.
Shaun Carter (24) of Franche Road, Leicester, Nathaniel Jarvis Mullings (19) of Farringdon Street, Leicester, Jackson George Powell (20) of Burnside Road, Leicester, Aaron Moses Webb (20) of Saltersford Road, Leicester, Akeem Tesfatyrone Jeffers (21) of Carr Mills, Buslinthorpe Lane, Leeds and Cairo Parker, 17, of Wood Hill, were convicted of manslaughter.
Mr Justice Griffith Williams sentenced Richards to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years for each count and Porter was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years for each count.
Carter and Mullings each received 15 years for each count, Webb, Jeffers and Powell were sentenced to 12 years for each count and Parker was sentenced to eight years for each count. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.
Those who died were Shanilal Taufiq, Zainab Taufiq, Muhammed Bilal Taufiq and Muhammed Jamal Taufiq.
The incident began in the evening of Thursday September 12, 2013, in Kent Street, Leicester, when 20-year-old Antoin Akpom received a single stab wound in the back. He was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary but died a short time later.
Following Antoin’s death, the defendants, who were all friends with or associates of Antoin, met later that evening. After visiting several locations across Leicester two vehicles arrived at Asfordby Street, Leicester, around 12.30am on Friday September 13.
Police established through CCTV, automatic number plate recognition technology, phone data and tracker data that inside the vehicles were Carter who drove there with Porter, Webb and Richards and Mullings who arrived with Powell, Jeffers and Parker.
Minutes later, CCTV captured the occupants leave the vehicles, a fireball appear at a property on Wood Hill and several people return to the vehicles. A flammable liquid was poured through the letterbox which caused a fire to spread upstairs. Inside the house were 48-year-old Shanilal, her 20-year-old daughter Zainab and her two sons 18-year-old Bilal and 15-year-old Jamal.
They were unable to escape from the property and all died within the house. Post mortem examinations confirmed they died from smoke inhalation.
Mr Justice Griffith Williams said: “There was significant degree of premeditation and planning, there was the use of petrol as an accelerant and this was group offending.
“That the victims were the wholly innocent and worthy Mrs Taufiq and her three children, who on any view were forces for good in the community, makes the offending even more heinous.
Sentencing this morning the Judge also commented on the police investigation, he said: “It was a highly professional police investigation carried out with commendable speed. Credit should go to the Chief Constable for all the staff and officers involved.”
Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “Any murder investigation can be challenging in the first few hours but to deal with a second murder investigation some seven hours later made them both all the more complicated to investigate.
“We know that the Taufiq family was not connected to the incident involving Antoin’s murder. Their house was targeted by mistake and the intended target was the family home of one of the people the defendants believed was responsible for Antoin’s murder.
“Those convicted are not hardened criminals nor do they have a list of previous convictions. They may be seen by some as young men who did something stupid for what they thought was revenge for their friend. It cannot be taken away though that they have taken the lives of four innocent people, have lied from the start and continued to deny their involvement and guilt until the end.
“Not only will they have destroyed their own lives but they will have ruined the lives of their loved ones who will have to face the fact of a long time without them.
“I would like to pay tribute to Dr Taufiq, thank the local community and ultimately give my appreciation to the investigation team for all of their hard work and commitment to the enquiry.
“The last nine months have been an extremely difficult and challenging for many people involved in this enquiry and those affected by this incident and I am pleased with the today’s convictions.”