Woman who killed brother in house fire refused bail ahead of sentencing

A WOMAN who fled abroad and remained a fugitive for ten years after killing her brother in a house fire has asked a court to be freed until she is sentenced.

• Shafquat Saleem convicted of culpable homicide of her brother Imran Saleem in June 2001

• Saleem also convicted of embezzling £34,327 at post office in Stockbridge before leaving country

• Judge Lord Stewart refuses bail ahead of sentencing

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Shafquat Saleem, 39, faces a lengthy jail term for the culpable homicide of her brother, Imran Saleem, 18, in the blaze at a flat in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, in June 2001.

The former postmistress has also been convicted of embezzling £34,327 at the post office where she worked in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, in the days before she left the country in September 2001.

Saleem was remanded in custody at the end of a trial last month, and is due to be sentenced in three weeks.

However, her lawyers applied for her release on bail at a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh. It was said she wanted to spend time with her family.

The judge, Lord Stewart refused, saying it would be a “very unusual case” where bail was granted in such circumstances, particularly with a background of “having left the jurisdiction for ten years.”

The trial heard of a long-running family feud, and that several people had been in the flat when petrol or other accelerant was poured through the letter box and set alight.

Imran Saleem was trapped inside and died from smoke and soot inhalation.

Shafquat Saleem, who had lived in Cyprus before returning to the United Kingdom in 2011, was accused of acting with others to start the fire and murder her brother, but she was found guilty of the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

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The defence solicitor-advocate, James Stephenson, said Saleem, of Corstorphine, Edinburgh, had been on bail pending the trial, and had abided by conditions to surrender her passport and sign on regularly at a police station.

“She is keen to be with her family pending sentencing,” he added.

Lord Stewart said he accepted Saleem had complied with her previous bail order, but he added: “I find it not possible to grant bail at this time.”