A CORONER said he was satisfied that community worker Caneze Riaz and her four daughters were "unlawfully killed" in a fire started deliberately by her husband.
An inquest was held in Blackburn on Tuesday into the deaths of Caneze, 39, her husband Mohammed, 49, and their four daughters Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 13, Alicia, 10, and three-year-old Hannah.
The verdict confirmed that Mohammed had started the fatal blaze after pouring petrol throughout the house and on the duvet where his wife slept with their youngest child.
Mohammed had been sleeping alone in the living room because of recent marriage problems.
Tracks of petrol were found running down the stairs of the house in Tremellen Street, Accrington, leading towards gas fires in both the front and back living rooms.
Police believe Mohammed lit a match upstairs before running downstairs and then back up, through the flames and into the bathroom where he was found by firefighters.
Three seats of fire were found inside the house, one outside the middle bedroom, one on the landing and the main one outside the entrance of the first-floor rear bedroom.
Footprints of blood were found on the scorched staircase, indicating Mohammed would have had to walk through a wall of flames as he made his way up to the bathroom.
Reports of screaming from the house would most probably have been from him and not the girls as at first thought.
East Lancashire Coroner Michael Singleton said he had dealt with several thousand deaths in his 13-year career, but never so many that had been connected.
A dozen family members showed up to support Caneze's brother Barry at the inquest but mum June made the decision to stay at home.
The coroner heard evidence from Lancashire Fire and Rescue station manager Steven Kennedy who was called to the scene in the early hours of the morning of 1 November.
Three crews from Accrington were initially called to the house followed by extra crews from Great Harwood and Blackburn.
A firefighter climbed through a downstairs window into the house while another officer forced open the front door.
Mr Kennedy said: "There was a smell of petrol vapour at the foot of the stairs, upstairs and on the first-floor landing area.
"All the bedroom doors were open at the time which increased the extent of the fire. No evidence was found inside the house of smoking materials or a carelessly discarded cigarette."
The officer said electrical faults, decorative candles and a possible third party had all been ruled out as causes of the fire.
He said that it was unusual to find the two petrol cans in the bedroom, and although there was a key in the back door no effort had been made to escape.
Caneze's DNA was discovered on top of Mohammed's on the handle of one of the green plastic cans, meaning she must have tried to remove it before collapsing on the bedroom floor.
All of the girls were found in bed and would have gone into a deep sleep before dying.
Mohammed's eyebrows and lashes had been singed off as a result of a back blast of flames when he lit the fuel.
Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell told the coroner that 24 detectives had worked on the investigation supported by crime scene investigators.
During the course of the inquiry, a total of 102 statements were taken but Det Supt Gradwell said that house-to-house inquiries and CCTV footage did not shed any light on the incident.
He added: "Fire officers made their way upstairs putting the fire out and they recovered Mohammed from the bathroom. The fire was caused deliberately by petrol being poured inside the house and then being ignited at three separate points."
He said he was certain that Mohammed had started the fire because he hadn't tried to escape or raise the alarm using the phone.
Traces of alcohol were found in Mohammed's bloodstream and he had cirrhosis of the liver, indicating that he was a secret drinker.
Barry said the family had no idea that Mohammed, a strict Muslim, was drinking alcohol and labelled him a hypocrite.
He added: "Mohammed would always criticise people who liked drinking alcohol, yet we have now found out he was a drinker himself.
"It has been a complete shock and it never would have occurred to us that he would ever even have thought about it."
The coroner's verdict was that Caneze, Sayrah, Sophia, Alicia and Hannah died of smoke inhalation and were all unlawfully killed and Mohammed killed himself.