Trial of Coventry couple accused of Arson attack

The home of Melissa Crook which was subject to arson attack
The home of Melissa Crook which was subject to an arson attack Photo: PA

The trial of three people, including a man and a woman from Coventry, accused of murdering a family in an arson attack at their home is due to open today.

Melissa Muhammadi, born Crook, and her 15-month-old son Noah died in the fire at Chatham Hill in Chatham, Kent, on September 10th last year.

Melissa’s father, Mark Crook, 49, was left critically ill with severe burns and died in West Sussex hospital six days later.

Last December, Noah’s father and Mrs Muhammadi's estranged husband, twenty four year old Danai Muhammadi, a car salesman from Coventry, pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder.

His friend, door supervisor Farhad Mahmud, 35, of Kensington House, Maidstone, also pleaded not guilty.

Mr Muhammadi and Mahmud also denied two counts of attempted murder in relation to Mrs Muhammadi's mother, Amanda Crook, and brother, Bohdan Crook, both injured in the blaze.

Emma Smith, 21 from Barley Lea, Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry, Muhammadi's girlfriend pleaded not guilty to the same charges as the two men.

And denied an additional charge of conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life.

The jury will be sworn in this morning, and prosecutor Mark Dennis QC will open the Crown's case at Maidstone Crown Court in front of Judge Mr Justice Sweeney.

Jury panel was selected yesterday.

All three defendants are in custody.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.