A murderer who took the lives of five children and three adults in a house fire 17 years ago has been jailed for at least 23 years.

Eight members of the Chishti family died when Shahid Mohammed, 37, carried out the attack with other men following a long-running and bitter family dispute.

The victims were asleep in their home on Osborne Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, when petrol bombs were thrown inside the property, with petrol also being poured through the letterbox and ignited.

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The five children that died along with their mother, uncle and grandmother stood little chance of escaping the burning inferno, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court.

Mohammed had been investigated by the police for his role in setting the fire, but while others stood trial in 2003 he instead skipped bail and fled to Pakistan.

After more than a decade on the run, he was extradited back to the UK last year.

A four-week trial at Leeds Crown Court heard how, in the lead-up to the fire, Mohammed had taken against Saud Pervez, the boyfriend of his sister, Shahida.

Prosecutors said that Mohammed Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, one of those who died in the fire, was the likely target of the arson attack as he had played an "active part" in maintaining the relationship.

After being convicted of eight counts of murder and a single charge of conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life, Mohammed was jailed today for life with a minimum of 23 years.

Sentencing Mohammed, Mr Justice Robin Spencer QC told the court that, following the attack, the family home was a "burning inferno".

He said: "Those left behind to grieve will never come to terms with their loss. Words cannot express the depth of their pain and distress."

The judge said that, had Mohammed not fled to Pakistan, he would have given the family closure and prevented them from waiting more than a decade for justice to be done.

"Instead they have had to live for all these years with the knowledge that one of the men principally responsible for these wicked murders had not been brought to justice," he added.

Mohammed, wearing a blue shirt and tie, showed no reaction as he was told the length of his sentence.

Mr Justice Robin Spencer looked visibly upset as he praised those who survived the fire, saying: "I know that they would have given their own lives to save the others."