An Uber driver killed his two young children by smothering them with a petrol-soaked rag as their mother slept upstairs, a murder trial has heard.
Jurors were told Endris Mohammed carried out the killings during a “sleepover” in the lounge and then fled in his taxi, leaving his wife to discover the lifeless bodies of eight-year-old Saros Endris and his sister Leanor, six.
The court heard Mohammed told a psychiatrist he intended to take his own life and had smothered the children after becoming depressed and deciding they “would be better off dead”.
Alleging that Mohammed intended to cause a gas explosion at his house, killing his wife, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC told the jury:
“Penil was asleep in the house when the fire was started.
“She immediately tried to put the fire out using her hands and feet whilst calling out for her husband, but he didn’t appear because he had driven off.”
Mohammed, 47, denies the murder of both children and the attempted murder of their mother but admits being responsible for the deaths.
Birmingham Crown Court heard the youngsters, who had suffered chemical burns to their faces, were found on a sofa and a mattress after their mother Penil Teklehaimanot was woken by a smoke alarm.
Opening the case against Mohammed, Mr Hankin said repeated efforts were made to revive the children outside their home in Hamstead, Birmingham.
The barrister told the court:
“Police and fire services were swift to arrive. A small fire inside the front door of the address had been put out and the area smelled strongly of petrol.
“They found Saros and Leanor lying lifeless on the ground outside the house. Both children were in cardiac arrest.
“Examination of the scene revealed that the inside of the house had been doused with petrol, escape routes had been impeded, the electricity supply had been disabled, and an attempt had been made to release gas by damaging a pipe that supplied the cooker.”
The start of Mohammed’s trial was told his children were formally pronounced dead a minute apart at separate hospitals in Birmingham and Sandwell, after being found at about 3.30am on October 28 last year.