Firefighter tells of life-saving bid as flat blaze murder trial begins

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A WOMAN has gone on trial accused of murdering a teenager by setting his home ablaze.

Shafquat Saleem, 39, is accused of starting the fire at the home of 18-year-old Imran Saleem at Barn Park, Wester Hailes, on June 14, 2001.

The teenager is said to have died from inhaling smoke and soot.

Saleem, formerly of Belmont Gardens, Murrayfield, is also accused of attempting to murder five others who were in the property at the time as she went on trial at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday.

Further charges allege the former postmistress destroyed a car by setting fire to it, and attempted to defeat the ends of justice by changing her appearance and fleeing the UK for almost ten years to avoid 

Saleem faces a further charge of embezzling £34,327 in September 2001 from the post office in Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, where she worked.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges and lodged a special defence of incrimination, blaming two others.

A fireman told the murder trial that he was made aware people were trapped in the maisonette as he raced there with his 999 crew.

He said: “On route to the incident I received information from my control that there were people still in the 
maisonette that was on fire and the control were giving them life-saving advice.”

Watch commander David Farries – who was a sub officer in 2001 – said he ordered two men in his fire engine wearing breathing apparatus to go into the third-floor flat.

The jury heard one firefighter then brought a male outside and handed him to Mr Farries, who then walked him to the stairs and gave him over to a police officer.

He said the male was coughing from the smoke but still able to walk.

Advocate depute Lesley Shand QC, prosecuting, asked: “Did you see anyone else come out of the flat?”

Mr Farries replied: “Later on they both brought down a body and handed the body to me.”

He confirmed it was a young man that was brought out and added: “I could not see any signs of life at that 

The witness said: “I tried to assess whether the male was still living or not – I couldn’t because of my equipment I had on.”

He added: “I automatically started to administer artificial respiration.”

Mr Farries said paramedics soon took over. It was later heard in evidence that the male was Imran Saleem, who was the only person from the flat who died.

The court was also told Mr Farries received information that others from the flat escaped from a balcony.

The trial before judge Lord Stewart continues.