Woman gets 13 years in jail for killing brother

A woman convicted of the culpable homicide of her 18-year-old brother at a flat in Edinburgh has been sentenced to 13 years in jail.

Shafquat Saleem, 38, started a fire at a flat in Barn Park, in the Wester Hailes area of Edinburgh, in 2001, which claimed the life of her 18-year-old brother Imran Saleem.

Petrol was poured through the letterbox of the council property before it was set on fire on June 14, 2001.

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Saleem’s parents lived at the Wester Hailes address with her younger sister, two brothers and uncle Khalid. Most relatives escaped the blaze unharmed when they jumped from a balcony with the help of firefighters.

But her tragic teenage brother Imran, 18, ended up trapped in a room where he was overcome by smoke and fumes and died.

Yesterday Saleem was sentenced to 13 years in jail at the High Court in Aberdeen after she was found guilty of killing her brother, with the help of others, following a trial last year.

Lord Stewart told her: “On the evidence the attack on the property was part of a family feud involving, on one side your father and mother, and on the other your older sister and brother Rafath and Tanveer and yourself.

“I must take account of the fact that the verdict means that you did not intend to kill your brother Imran.

“You have been convicted on the basis that you acted with others.

“The evidence is silent as to the exact part that you played in the plot: but the evidence does indicate that you were not the driving force.

“I have to emphasise that I am not dealing with a private dispute between family members but with a crime that resulted in damage to property that did not belong to the family, a risk to other families living in neighbouring flats and the death of a young man.”

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Saleem was found guilty of four charges following the trial at the High Court in Glasgow in December.

She was found guilty of wilful fireraising which resulted in the death of her brother and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by getting her hair cut short to alter her appearance on the same day.

She was also found guilty embezzling £34,327 from the sub Post Office at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh where she worked.

Saleem also attempted to defeat the ends of justice by leaving the UK on September 2001 and living abroad for nearly 10 years until April 11, 2011.

She went on trial charged with murdering her brother but the jury found her guilty of the lesser charge of killing him instead.

During the trial, it emerged that family members had fallen out over a property in Belmont Gardens in the Corstorphine area.

Saleem’s sister Rafath and her brother, Tanveer, were the registered owners of their parents’ previous home but their sister Mussart Saleem was paying the mortgage.

When Mussart missed a couple of mortgage payments, there was an argument which eventually saw Rafath kick her relatives out of the house.

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Arrest warrants were issued in 2002 for Shafquat, Rafath and Tanveer Saleem in connection with the blaze and the accused was arrested at Edinburgh Airport in 2011.

Saleem ended up being the only family member indicted over her brother’s death and the others were not brought to court.

Yesterday the court heard that Saleem continued to insist she was innocent and claimed she was at home when the flat was torched.

Defence lawyer Ian Duguid said the relationship between Saleem and her family had been “cordial” since her return to the UK.

He described her as a person devoted to her family and said there had been “no animosity” between his client and her brother.

Head of CID, Detective Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, said: “This is a particularly distressing case which had a significant impact on the local community in Wester Hailes back in 2001, so I am satisfied that after all this time the case has been successfully proven in court.

“Shafquat Saleem’s deliberate fire-raising put six lives at risk that night and tragically claimed the life of her brother Imran - I am pleased that after more than 11 years she has been brought to justice for her actions.

“I think this sends a very strong message to the public that no case is ever closed, and that the authorities will pursue anyone involved in serious crime and seek to bring them to justice regardless of how many years that may take.”