FIVE people have today appeared before crown court over a fatal house fire which resulted in the deaths of a Blackburn couple.

Abdullah Mohammed, 41, a well-respected mosque teacher and his wife Ayesha, 39, died following a blaze at their home in London Road last month.

The five defendants at a Preston Crown Court preliminary hearing were: Peter Bowden, 39, of Lytham St Annes; Imran Ali, 29, from Manchester; Sadek Miah, 23, of the Isle of Dogs; Mohammed Miah, 19 and Habib Iqbal, 25, both from London.

They have been charged with murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Bowden was in court for this morning’s hearing, while the other four defendants appeared via a prison video link.

A plea and case management hearing has been set for March 11.

A provisional date for trial has been fixed for June 8 next year, with the trial estimated to last six to eight weeks.

Four of the defendants were remanded in custody, except for Bowden who was further remanded on conditional bail by Judge Anthony Russell QC.