Teenager, 15, jailed for murdering girlfriend in arson attack

Miah and Choudhury. Photos: Metropolitan Police

A 15-year-old from Croydon has been jailed for murdering his girlfriend and her sister in a revenge-fuelled arson attack on their family home.

Akmol Miah was today sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison for the murder of 15-year-old Maleha Masud and her older sister Nabiha, 21, as well as the attempted murder of three other members of their family last summer.

His cousin and accomplice in the crime, Shihabouddin Choudhury, 21, was jailed for life, with a minimum of 21 years, after being found guilty of the same offences.

The sentencing, at the Old Bailey, was the culmination of a six-week trial during which the court heard how Miah had plotted the attack in revenge after Maleha Masud ended a brief ‘relationship’ between the two.

Miah, who was aged just 14 at the time of his crime, proceeded to threaten the family, before recruiting Choudhury, a waiter from Nottingham with no previous connection to the Masud family, to help him carry out the attack.

Maleha and Nabiha Masud were killed in the arson attack. Photo: Metropolitan Police

In the early hours of Sunday 21 June, Miah and Choudhury poured petrol through the letterbox of the family’s home in Tooting. They then set fire to it.

The pair, who were caught in ‘extensive’ CCTV evidence assembled by the police, showing them driving to the house to commit the crime, denied all charges.

Police who searched Miah’s house and computer found that, in addition to searching the internet for the phrase ‘how to burn someone’s house down,’ he had also saved an image of the burnt-out property as a screensaver.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, expressed incomprehension at Miah’s actions. “Why he should arrive at the extraordinary decision to burn down their house is really impossible to understand,” he said.

Speaking in a statement after Miah and Choudhury were convicted, Zaid Masud, brother of the victims, said: “The verdict was as we expected, however, this does not change the reality of our great loss. We have in effect been given a life sentence without parole and now must live with this.”

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