Three deny murder over fatal arson blaze

Three people have pleaded not guilty to murdering three generations of the same family in an arson attack at their home – but were remanded in custody until a trial next April.

Melissa Muhammadi, 20, whose maiden name was Crook, and her 15-month-old son Noah died after a fire in Chatham, Kent, on September 10. Noah’s grandfather Mark Crook, 49, was severely burnt and died six days later.

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At Maidstone Crown Court yesterday, Mrs Muhammadi’s estranged husband and Noah’s father, Danai Muhammadi, 23, pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder, as did his friend, Farhad Mahmud, 35, of Kensington House, Maidstone.

Muhammadi’s girlfriend, Emma Smith, 21, of Coventry, pleaded not guilty to the same charges as the men.