Girl died after 'arson' at home

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A girl died after an arson attack on her home by men who disapproved of a relationship her brother was having with a teenager, a court has heard.

Alisha Begum, six, died after the fire in March 2006 in Aston, Birmingham.

Hussain Ahmed, 26, of Harborne, and Daryll Tuzzio, 18, from Perry Barr deny murder and the attempted murder of nine of Alisha's relatives.

Abdul Hamid, 21, had started a relationship with Ahmed's 15-year-old sister Meherun Khanum, the court heard.

Alisha, the youngest of 12 children in her Bangladeshi family, became the innocent victim of an attempt to warn her brother off seeing the teenager, prosecutors told Birmingham Crown Court.

'Masked figure'

The relationship started towards the end of last year and Adrian Redgrave, prosecuting, said the 15-year-old's family disapproved.

Mr Hamid had a threatening phone call 24 hours before the fire in Bayswater Road last year, the court heard.

Shortly before midnight on 10 March, Mr Redgrave said a masked figure burst through the front door and sprayed petrol in the hallway before lighting a match.

The blaze spread up the stairs and family members had to jump from an upstairs window, he said.

Alisha, who was in her bunk bed, was found by firefighters and died at Birmingham Children's Hospital the following day.

'Directed attack'

Mr Redgrave said two further men, Mr Ahmed's brother, Mohammed Foaz Ahmed, and a close friend, Jabed Ali, were wanted in connection with the incident but had subsequently disappeared.

He added there is no evidence Mr Ahmed was at the scene, but had directed the attack.

Mr Ahmed, of Quinton Road West, Harborne, and Mr Tuzzio, of Sandringham Road, Perry Barr, deny an additional count of arson with intent to endanger life.

The trial is due to last two weeks.