Man jailed for life after triple murder of mum and daughters in flat fire

Fatoumatta Hydara and her daughters, Fatimeh and Naeemah Drammeh were murdered when Jamie Barrow set fire to their flat in Nottingham.

A man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a mother and two young daughters by setting fire to their flat in Clifton.

He will serve a minimum of 44 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Jamie Barrow, 31, was unanimously convicted of murdering Fatoumatta Hydara and her daughters, Fatimeh and Naeemah Drammeh, on Tuesday 4 July at Nottingham Crown Court.

The three-week trial heard how Barrow took petrol from his motorbike, poured it through his neighbour's letterbox and set it alight in the early hours of November 20 last year.

Prosecutors said Barrow "walked casually away" after ignoring the screams of his victims, and later called Nottingham City Council to see if they would compensate him for smoke damage to his belongings in the nearby flat.

Jamie Barrow will serve a minimum of 44 years behind bars Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

Fatimah, aged 3, and one-year-old Naeemah died during the blaze, while 28-year-old Mrs Hydara died two days later from smoke inhalation.

On sentencing Barrow, the judge, Mrs Justice Tipples said; "You were in a particularly dark and depressed state. You were very angry. You had urges to harm others, and you continued drinking.

"By the early hours of November 20 you had drunk 10 or 11 cans of beer. Your consumption of that amount of alcohol was entirely voluntary.

"I am sure that based on the evidence of Dr Furtado, the forensic psychologist who gave evidence at trial, that your voluntary consumption of alcohol was the main reason for what you then did."

The judge said Barrow's alcohol consumption "did not impair" his "ability to form a rational judgment", and that she was sure that Barrow saw the pram belonging to his victims prior to setting the fire.

She said: "You were well aware of what you were doing and I am quite sure from what you did that you wanted to kill Mrs Hydara and her children. You were very angry, but it is only you who knows why you did this."

Fatoumatta Hydara and her children, Fatimah and Naeemah Drammeh Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

Friends and family of Barrow's victims paid tribute to them in a joint statement upon his conviction.

Speaking outside court, Mrs Hydara's husband and the children's father, Aboubacarr Drammeh, said: "Words cannot quantify how much our family have suffered because of the horrific actions of one man.

"Neither can we quantify the emotional, psychological, physiological and financial impact of the crime Jamie Barrow committed against Fatoumatta, Fatimah and Naeemah.

"His actions were utterly heartless and cruel - and have caused a multi-generational trauma that we will never understand."

Balloons, flowers and other tributes left outside the flat in Clifton, Nottingham Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

Mr Drammeh was in America at the time of the incident and had to identify the bodies of his wife and children on his 40th birthday.

At the sentencing, he described seeing his daughters as "two little angels, their lifeless bodies laying next to each other. I held their whole hands. I wished I could switch with them."

Barrow had been drinking multiple cans of lager before lighting the fire and he was later seen on CCTV walking his dog while smoking a cigarette.

Barrow had earlier described lighting fires as a 'cathartic' exercise.

He said that fires had “always helped stress” and that he was “mesmerised” by them taking hold.

In the hours after the blaze he first called police asking how "bad" the fire had been and whether he could return to his flat, but later he admitted to his actions, saying: "I need to telly you something about the fire next door."

The jury at Nottingham Crown Court unanimously rejected Barrow's claim that he believed the flat to be empty ad the time and did not intend to harm anyone.

'I was hopeless, and I was left helpless'

Speaking at Barrow's sentencing on Friday 7 July, Mr Drammeh explained the pain of having to identify his wife and children's bodies.

He says: "I was hopeless, and I was left helpless, because I didn't have a family, and it was the people who mattered most to me.

"Since then, it has been a downward plunge into darkness and the unknown.

"It was unthinkable, it was unplanned, and I wish this on no one else, including you. Two little angels, their lifeless bodies laying next to each other. I held their whole hands. I wished I could switch with them.

"Only Allah knows why. I have to accept and prepare for the next chapter of my life. All I can say is I am sorry.

"I was not there, I should have been. I had a responsibility as a father and a husband to protect, that was my basic responsibility. I make no excuses."

Mr Drammeh turned to Barrow and said: "Because of you, and only you, I failed in my only responsibility as a father."

Aboubacarr Drammeh said his wife Fatoumatta and their two children were set to join him for a new life in America. Credit: BPM Media

The grieving father and husband also described in court the moment he heard the news.

He said: "On that evening of November 19, the conversation was normal.

"I went to sleep, took a nap, went to bed at night and woke up for early morning prayers.

"While I was praying, my phone started ringing continuously. I thought it was Fatoumatta, wanting to FaceTime.

"We all know it wasn't. It was my mother-in-law and my sister, so I called back my mother-in-law and she said there was an accident and the kids did not survive and Fatoumatta was in the ICU.

"But it wasn't an accident, was it?"

Mr Drammeh then referred to Barrow as "a coward who knew exactly what he was doing and exactly when to do it".

Paying tribute to his family, Mr Drammeh said Nottingham has lost a "great human being" in Mrs Hydara, whom he met in Canada, and that his wife would have "helped without judging".

"Fatimah loved the Teletubbies, she knew all the colours and the names. I would call them the wrong names, and she would say 'no, it's this'. She loved Mr Tumble and Friends."

He added that a backpack bought for Fatimah, found after the fire, "still smells ofsmoke".

Recalling how Fatimah remembered the names of tram stops in Nottingham, and sounds trams made, he said to Barrow; "Because of you, and your actions, I find it difficult to ride a tram.".

"Naeemah was just a baby. She enjoyed watching TV shows and CBeebies. They were typical British kids. We enjoyed the same things that you enjoyed.

"I was working and preparing potential college funds for them, getting a house we could call our home. I am naive - I knew death would come, but I did not think it would come this soon. We didn't want this."