THE family of murdered Abdullah and Ayesha Mohammed said the couple's children 'felt like they had lost everything'.

The youngest children, who cannot be named for legal, reasons, almost died in the blaze. Their 18-year-old son Ashraf was away at university at the time.

Usman Patel, Mr Mohammed's nephew, speaking on behalf of the family – including eldest child Ashraf – said: “The children feel they have lost everything and to go through all this at such a young age is truly the worst of situations.

“The Asian community has been extremely distressed that the motive behind the killing of an innocent couple was allegedly one of honour and ultimately the result of an adulterous couple’s inconsiderate actions.

“The community has found it very difficult to cope with the loss of such an invaluable asset in the community at the hands of some heartless perpetrators. It has, however, in a sense pulled the community together.

"They have helped the family greatly and the family show their utmost gratitude for this.

“Members of the community have expressed their desire for justice and hope that the outcome of the trial may bring some peace of heart and a sense of closure to the family.”

Abdullah Aziz Mohammed, was born in Blackburn in 1968 and Ayesha Mohammed was born in India in 1970, before coming to England following the couple's marriage in 1987.

Having gone to school and college in the town, Mr Mohammed became a Hafiz, memorising the Koran and taking on the role of religious teacher at the Masjid-e-Hidaya Mosque in Millham Street, yards from his London Road home.

He would deputise for the Iman, Abdullah Rehmani, and taught his three children and hundreds of local children at the mosque, where all the family attended five times a day.

Mr Patel said Mr Mohammed was a 'real family man', and an 'upstanding and respected member of the community'. He enjoyed charity work through the mosque and helped establish a small charity which raised funds to build wells in India and send money to orphanages. He also ran a shop, Aim, in Whalley Street, with his brother.

Mr Patel said: “The family were well integrated in the community and were very popular in the area. They were regarded as role models to the younger generations to look up to. They were friends to everyone.”

Mr Patel described the 'very close' relationship between Mr and Mrs Mohammed and their three children and the 'great impact' their deaths have had on their nine-year-old and 18-year-old sons and 14-year-old girl.

He said: “They were always taught to respect others, be honest and try their best in all walks of life. The children were known in the community and in their schools for their good manners and positive attitudes towards other people.

“Mr and Mrs Mohammed genuinely wanted the best for their children and they were always encouraged to come 'top of the class'. This was reflected in the children’s educational achievements. “They were also brought up to become pillars of the community who would later on dedicate their lives to helping others and looking out for their own families.

“The loss of such loving parents has had an inexplicable effect on the children who are now being looked after by their grandfather and helped by the extended family.”

Mr Patel also expressed his thanks on behalf of the whole Mohammed family to the authorities and wider community for their 'support and co-operation'.