12:18PM, Wednesday 13 February 2013
A convicted murderer handed a life sentence for killing a young woman by setting fire to her Maidenhead home has failed to get his conviction overturned.
Amaar Najib, 23, of Wexham Road in Slough, has always denied he lit the flame that caused the house fire which killed 23-year-old Saimah Ali.
A jury found him guilty of murder and arson at Reading Crown Court in February, 2011, and he was given a mandatory life sentence, of which he must serve a minimum of 20 years.
Yesterday three of UK's most senior judges at London's Court of Appeal rejected a bid by Najib to have the verdict quashed, dismissing claims he did not receive a fair trial.
Lord Justice Pitchford, who heard the appeal with Mr Justice Cranston and Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, said: "The evidence against Najib was particularly strong.
"The combination of the evidence of motive and other evidence in the case was convincing."
Mrs Ali died in her parent's home in Moor Lane in Maidenhead where she was staying for the night with her husband, on June, 25, 2010. Najib set the house on fire shortly after midnight.
Petrol was used to set fire to the door and, although the alarm was raised, the fire tore through the building and Mrs Ali was overcome before she could get out.
Fifteen members of her family, including children, escaped the burning building.
Najib was arrested at Birmingham Airport before he could board a plane to Pakistan on June 30, 2010.
His appeal lawyer argued that the trial judge misdirected the jury on how to consider his silence during a police interview and evidence of past problems with Mrs Ali's family.
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