A COUPLE died in a blaze after three men hired to torch a home got the wrong house, a jury was told.

The arsonists were trying to send a chilling warning to a couple having an affair – but ended up killing Abdullah and Ayesha Mohammed, a court heard.

A liquid, probably petrol, was poured through their letterbox at 175 London Road, Blackburn, and ignited at around 1.20am last October 21.

But the intended target – said to have been having an affair with the sister of the man accused of arranging the attack – was then living at 135 London Road, a murder trial jury in Preston Sessions House was told.

Mr and Mrs Mohammed and two of their three children were trapped in the house.

Mr Mohammed, 41, was killed in the blaze and his wife, 39, died a week later from her injuries.

The children, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged nine, who cannot be named for legal reasons, survived.

The eldest child, Ashraf, 18, was away at university.

The jury was told Hisamuddin Ibrahim, 20, of Shelley Avenue, London, had been told that his married sister Hafija Gorji, of New Bank Road, Blackburn, had been having an affair with Mohammad 'Mo' Ibrahim.

His house was the intended target, said prosecutor Brian Cummings QC, but he told the jury the men Ibrahim recruited to carry out the arson – Sadek Miah, 23, of Byng Street, Isle of Dogs, Mohammed Miah, 19, of Pelley Road, London, and Habib Iqbal, 25, of Strone Road, London, – got the wrong address.

Mr Cummings said Sadek Miah, Mohammed Miah (no relation) and Iqbal were 'directly responsible for starting the fire that night'.

He said: “These three were acting on behalf of Hisamuddin Ibrahim who in effect put them up to it.”

He told the jury the motive was to punish his married sister's lover Mo Ibrahim for 'threatening the family honour by having an affair with Hafija Gorji'.

All four defendants deny two counts of murder, however the jury were told Sadek Miah has entered a guilty plea to manslaughter.

During yesterday's opening, the jury was shown a presentation of the transcript of Mr Mohammed's 999 call, made at 1.23am.

The sound was turned off, but it showed Mr Mohammed shouting “It's fire”, “175 London Road”, “Ohhhhhh”, and finally “I can't breathe”.

The transcript, including the operator repeatedly trying to talk to Mr Mohammed, lasted less than a minute before the call ended.

There were audible sobs from the packed public gallery as the transcript was shown in court.

Mr Cummings told the jury neighbours smelled burning and desperately tried to smash their way in to help.

One neighbour hammered on a downstairs window, another heard a 'child whimpering', while two others scaled a lower roof and smashed a rear bedroom window.

All were beaten back by thick smoke and when the two fire crews arrived from Blackburn within minutes of the 999 call, they found the four family members unconscious in the front parents' bedroom.

The two children were brought out first, then the adults.

Mr Cummings described how the ferocity of the fire in the vestibule melted the metal door handles and the glass panels of the internal door, spreading fumes and smoke into the property.

The jury was also given maps of the 500-mile round trip, starting at 9pm at a Tesco Express garage in Romford Road, London, that the prosecution say three of the men – Sadek Miah, Mohammed Miah and Iqbal – took from London to Blackburn and back.

They were also shown CCTV of a Volkswagen Golf doing three circuits of the London Road and Whalley Range area between 12.56am and 1.13am on Wednesday, October 21.

The prosecution allege the car belonged to Sadek Miah and that they were carrying out 'reconnaissance' of the location.

Then footage from a camera in Calder Banks, just behind London Road, showed the car stop at one point and a figure approached from the shadows.

The car then moved off and was seen to pull into a layby with its lights out for nine minutes, before three men got out at 1.13am.

The men quickly returned to the car, before exiting the car again at 1.18am. One person appeared to be carrying a container.

At 1.21am three men returned to the car and it drove off without its lights on through Blackburn and towards the M65, where it was caught on an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera at 1.24am.

The prosecution said police began looking at CCTV and followed the journey of a dark vehicle in the vicinity at the time of the fire.

When the registration of a Volkswagen Golf was caught on ANPR camera, they found it was registered to Sadek Miah's mother at their home address and their investigation began.