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City man cleared of firebomb killings.

Byline: By LIZ HAZELTON liz.hazelton@mrn.co.uk

A COVENTRY man has walked free from the Old Bailey after being found not guilty of ordering a fatal firebombing.

Mohammed Awan, aged 30, had always denied being behind the attack on the house in West Avenue, Southall, London.

Manzoor Ahmad and his wife Farhat Gul Ahmad both died of smoke inhalation during the blaze on Valentine's Day, 2002.

Their 17-year-old son Qasim leaped to safety from a first-floor window and was treated for severely burned arms.

On Tuesday, an Old Bailey jury acquitted Awan, of Nicholls Street, Hillfields, of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.

The prosecution had claimed he planned the attack to get revenge on the couple's son Rahid Ahmad, who was not at home that night.

Awan did not give evidence at his trial but had earlier told detectives he was eating at a fried-chicken takeaway and drinking with friends at the time.

The jury cleared him after a day of deliberations and Awan smiled and clasped his right hand to his chest when he heard the verdict.

Judge Hubert Dunn refused to grant him defence costs of pounds 70 for travel to and from Coventry.

Another man, Russell Galstaun, aged 22, who was allegedly asked to carry out the firebombing, was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year.

Police said family and friends of Mr and Mrs Ahmad were left deeply traumatised by what had happened and desperately wanted to catch the people responsible.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 25, 2004
Words:247
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