An innocent couple died in a house fire at the hands of assailants who got the wrong address in a botched honour killing, a court heard today.
Abdullah Mohammed, 41, and his wife, Aysha Mohammed, 39, were overcome by smoke and fumes after an accelerant was poured through their letterbox and set alight.
Their killers were ordered by another man to avenge his family's honour but instead of firebombing 135 London Road in Blackburn, Lancashire, they started the blaze at 175 London Road, the court heard.
Mr Mohammed was found unconscious in his bedroom along with his wife and two of their three children in the early hours of October 21 last year.
He died the same night while his wife died a week later. Their 14-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son survived.
Opening the case at Preston Crown Court, Brian Cummings QC said: 'The prosecution allege that Sadik Miah, Mohammed Miah (no relation) and Habib Iqbal were directly responsible for starting the fire that night and the prosecution further allege that these three were acting on behalf of Hisamuddin Ibrahim who had effectively put them up to it.
'The prosecution say, on behalf of his family, Hisamuddin Ibrahim wanted to kill a man by the name of Mo Ibrahim (no relation) to punish him for damaging the family's honour for having an affair with his married sister, Hafija Gordi.'
Mr Cummings said the plan was to target Mo's home at 135 London Road, Preston Crown Court was told.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service received a 999 call from Mr Mohammed at about 1.20am.
He told the operator there was a fire at his home and he could not breathe before the line went dead.
The blaze spread through the hallway as smoke engulfed the upstairs of the terraced property.
Neighbours tried in vain to get into the house but were beaten back by the flames before the emergency services arrived.
The prosecutor said there were no witnesses to the start of the blaze but CCTV footage showed a vehicle circling the surrounding streets three times shortly before the fire.
Three figures were then seen to leave the car in the direction of London Road, one appearing to carry a container, before returning and then driving away with its lights off.
Mr Cummings said that vehicle was a black Volkswagen Golf whose registered keeper was Sadek Miah's mother, who lived with the defendant in East London.
The VW Golf was earlier tracked by automatic number plate recognition cameras travelling northwards up the motorway from London the evening before.
Mr Cummings said: 'Having stayed in the area for less than an hour the vehicle left Blackburn after the fire was started - a trip of around 500 miles and more than 7 hours of driving and all in the middle of the night.
'The CCTV not only shows the vehicle, but it also shows people .Three people can be seen to get out of the Golfand walk in the direction of London Road.
'One of them is carrying a container. The camera also shows figure approaching the vehicle and then disappearing again.
'The vehicle goes away from the area and returns to the area, does three circuits and after the third parks up.
'People get out of the vehicle in the direction of London Road. They go back to the car and then three people go in the same direction and then return to the car and the vehicle leaves with the lights off.'
Ibrahim, 21, Iqbal, 25, Mohammed Miah, 19, and 23-year-old Sadek Miah, all of East London, deny murder.
Sadek Miah has pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of manslaughter, which his co-defendants deny.
The trial, scheduled to last up to four weeks, will continue tomorrow morning with the conclusion of the prosecution opening.