A MAN has died from a suspected heart attack after collapsing during a murder trial.

Ishmeal Valli, 70, of London Road, Blackburn, was a close family friend of Abdullah and Ayesha Mohammed, who died after an arson attack on their home.

He was in the public gallery this morning during the trial into their alleged murder when he collapsed.

The case, now into its sixth day, had been going for around 30 minutes when there was commotion at the back of court one at Preston Sessions House.

A woman cried out 'something's happening'.

Barristers, solicitors and the four defendants, Hisamuddin Ibrahim, 21, Sadek Miah, 23, Mohammed Miah, 19, and Habib Iqbal, 25, turned around to see what was going on.

Mr Valli, had slumped to the floor and was led on his back as the court clerk rang for help.

Judge Justice Henriques quickly adjourned the hearing and the court was cleared.

Concerned members of Mr and Mrs Mohammed's family, as well as friends of Mr Valli, gathered in the public waiting area just feet from where Mr Valli lay stricken just inside the court's doors.

He had lost consciousness and had stopped breathing. He was given emergency first aid until paramedics arrived.

First on the scene were security staff at the Lancaster Road building. They were quickly followed by uniformed response officers and paramedics.

Detective Constable Jeff McCann had been giving evidence in the trial by reading out the police interviews of the suspects.

He helped administer first aid and gave Mr Valli mouth to mouth resuscitation. He described it as a 'very unfortunate incident'.

Prosecuting barrister Brian Cummings offered consoling words to those gathered in the waiting area, who decided the rest of the day's hearing should go ahead.

However, the majority of relatives left the court when it resumed at midday.

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service confirmed they received an emergency call to Preston Sessions House at around 11am.

“A 70-year-old male had collapsed, suffering a suspected cardiac arrest."

The spokesman added that the man had started breathing again while being given emergency treatment inside the court room, but had stopped again when the ambulance arrived.

He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital, but died.

Mr Mohammed, 41, died in the fire in London Road, Blackburn, and his 39-year-old wife died a week later from her injuries. The two children caught in the fire were treated at hospital and survived, but are now orphaned and living with close relatives.

During the rest of the day's proceedings, transcripts of Mohammed Miah's police interviews were read by prosecutor Brian Cummings and DC McCann.

All four defendants deny the murder of Mr and Mrs Mohammed.