Court told Endris Mohammed bought three litres of petrol before starting fire in family home
A uber driver killed his two children by smothering them with a petrol soaked rag and then started a blaze while his wife slept upstairs at their home in Birmingham, a court heard
Endris Mohammed who had also tried to cause an explosion by tampering with the gas, fled from the scene.
He then drove to a road in Staffordshire where he was later found near his car suffering from burns.
Mohammed, 47, has denied murdering eight year old Saros and his six year old daughter Leanor as well as attempting to murder his wife Penil Teklehaimanot.
Jonas Hankin QC, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said: “At 3.37am on October 28 last year the emergency services received the first of many 999 calls.
“They were connected with a house fire at Holland Road, Hamstead the home of the defendant where he lived with his wife and two children.
“They found Saros and Leanor lifeless on the ground outside the house. Both children were in cardiac arrest and both had chemical burns on their faces.”
Mr Hankin said attempts were made to revive them but they were pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
The trial heard that investigators later examined the scene and discovered: “Escape routes had been impeded, the electricity supply had been disabled and attempts had been made to release gas in the property by damaging a gas pipe that supplied the kitchen cooker.”
Mr Hankin added: “The true reason why the defendant killed his children and attempted to kill his wife may never be known. His explanation for killing his children was that they would be better off dead than living without him and it was his intention to commit suicide.”
Mohammed came to the UK in 2006 from Ethiopia and married his wife in the same year. She was employed as a care worker while he got a job with Uber.
On the day before the deaths Mohammed had worked as normal before going to a petrol station and buying a container which he filled with three litres of fuel.
His wife went to bed at around midnight while he was downstairs with their children.
Mr Hankin said Mohammed drove away from the property at around 3.30am and shortly after that his wife was woken by the smoke alarm, came down stairs and put out the fire.
She then went outside but realised her children were still in the house, the court was told
Mr Hankin said she found them in the lounge and thought they were asleep but when they were taken outside it was apparent they were “unconscious and lifeless.”
He said Mohammed had driven up the M6 and parked in a road in Newcastle Under Lyme where he was later discovered near to his vehicle with burns to his head, face and hands.
The court was told that Mohammed, who later said he had desperate and had no money, did not deny killing his children but his defence was based on him suffering from an abnormality of the mind at the time of the offences.