Endris Mohammed trial: Dad guilty of murdering son and daughter


Saros and Leanor EndrisImage copyright
West Midlands Police/PA Wire

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Saros and Leanor Endris were killed in October last year

A father has been found guilty of murdering his two young children who he smothered with a petrol-soaked rag before setting fire to the family home.

Saros Endris, eight, and his sister Leanor, six, were found dead at their house in Birmingham in October 2016.

Their father Endris Mohammed, 47, also tried to kill his wife by attempting to cause a gas explosion.

Paying tribute to her children, Penil Teklehaimanot, Mohammed’s wife, said they had brought joy to her life.

She said their deaths had “had a profound effect and changed my life forever”.

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Media captionBirmingham father who killed children captured on CCTV

A two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court was told Mohammed appeared normal in the run-up to the deaths.

He was found guilty of two counts of murder and one of attempted murder after the jury deliberated for under 30 minutes.

Mrs Teklehaimanot said in evidence that she was woken by a smoke alarm at her home in Holland Road, Great Barr and initially thought her children were asleep when she was unable to wake them.

Mohammed had denied the murders, claiming diminished responsibility allegedly caused by a depressive disorder.

Police said he was found sitting in his car in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, with severe burns after setting fire to himself (some may find the picture below distressing).

The court heard Mohammed told a psychiatrist he intended to take his own life and had smothered the children after becoming depressed and deciding they “would be better off dead”.

However, Det Insp Justin Spanner, of West Midlands Police, said there was no previous history of mental health.

“As part of our investigation we spoke to people who were in his taxi on that day and they say he was happy, chatting and he seemed very normal,” he said.

Mohammed will be sentenced on Monday.

Image copyright
West Midlands Police

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Endris Mohammed suffered burns when he set his car on fire

Trial judge Mr Justice Gilbart, addressing the jurors after the verdicts, told them: “You’ve just dealt with a very important case.

“It’s an important public service. You’ve earned the thanks of the public for the vital work you’ve done.”

Paying tribute to the children, Mrs Teklehaimanot said: “They seem too full of life and all the promise of things to come. Their futures stretched out before them – like a book waiting to be read.”

She added that Saros “was the most polite well-mannered child”, while Leanor “was a wonderful, mature girl”.

Image copyright
West Midlands Police

Image caption

Jurors were told Mohammed carried out the killings during a “sleepover” in the lounge

Mrs Teklehaimanot said the pair met in 2006 in Kent, after they both came to Britain from East Africa as asylum seekers.

She told the court he was a “gentle, quiet man” and his personality had not changed in any way since 2006.

Mohammed did not give evidence during his defence case but argued through his legal team that he was depressed about his future amid money worries.

Jurors heard Mohammed, who was an Uber driver, claimed he had decided to end his own life because his “hopes for a good life in England” had failed.

He told police in a statement handed to officers in January that he had no money.

Mrs Teklehaimanot told the court she was not in debt and that the couple’s rent payments were not in arrears.



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