Father gets life for murdering his children

A father who was found guilty of murdering his children by smothering them with a petrol-soaked cloth has been jailed for life.

Taxi driver Endris Mohammed, 47, was given a minimum of 33 years for killing his eight-year-old son, Saros, and his six-year-old daughter, Leanor, at their family home in Birmingham.

Both children died from airway obstruction after suffering chemical burns to their faces.

Mohammed was also given a concurrent 10-year sentence at Birmingham Crown Court for the attempted murder of his wife, Penil Teklehaimanot.

She was asleep when her husband killed their children. He had tampered with a gas pipe and set fire to their front door.

A jury unanimously found him guilty of the crimes on Friday, 17 November.

The Uber driver fled in his cab after killing the children at their home in Holland Road in the early hours of 28 October last year.

He suffered burns to his head after setting fire to the passenger side of his cab.

Endris Mohammed was found guilty of murdering Saros Endris, eight, and Leanor Endris, six

Image: Endris Mohammed murdered Saros Endris, eight, and Leanor Endris, six

He had bought a fuel can and three litres of petrol the previous day.

His wife gave evidence at the trial and said her husband was “a gentle, quiet man” who did not seem angry in the months before the murders.

She said Mohammed smothered the children during a half-term “sleepover” downstairs.

She was woken up by a fire alarm and thought her children were sleeping when she was unable to wake them.

Mohammed did not give evidence during the trial but his lawyers argued he was depressed about his future and his financial situation.

Despite Mohammed’s claims that he decided to end his life over financial worries, police enquiries found the family could have lived off Mrs Teklehaimanot’s earnings as a care worker.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Gilbart accepted Mohammed was suffering from a depressive illness falling short of diminished responsibility, but said a withdrawal from a cash machine hours beforehand showed he had not intended to take his own life.

“Their mother escaped death but she must endure that tragic loss as she rebuilds her life. They (the children) loved you, as did your partner,” the judge said.

“They trusted you implicitly and were enjoying your company even on the night of their murder. You repaid their trust in you by killing them.”