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Taxi driver who murdered family in house fire denied prison release

Azhar Ali Mehmood was jailed in 2001.

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The scene of the murders (Richard Brock/PA)

The scene of the murders (Richard Brock/PA)

The scene of the murders (Richard Brock/PA)

A taxi driver who murdered his pregnant girlfriend, her partially disabled sister and their mother in a house fire has had his bid to be freed from jail rejected.

The Parole Board rejected the request from “jealous and possessive” Azhar Ali Mehmood.

In 2001 the then 26-year-old was handed four life sentences when he was jailed for the murders of Lucy Lowe, 16, Sarah Lowe, 17, and 49-year-old Eileen Linda Lowe.

All three victims died in the fire in Leegomery, Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of August 5 2000.

He was also convicted of the attempted murder of George Lowe, the teenagers’ 56-year-old father and Mrs Lowe’s husband, who escaped the blaze through a bedroom window but was unable to save his family.

Mehmood’s baby daughter Tasnim was found on the patio wrapped in blankets.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board did not direct the release of Azhar Mehmood following an oral hearing.

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Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in the fire (family handout/PA)

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in the fire (family handout/PA)

PA

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in the fire (family handout/PA)

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public after release and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“The panel carefully examined a whole range of evidence, including details of the original case, and any evidence of behaviour change.”

A document detailing the decision said the panel “was not satisfied Mr Mehmood was suitable for release” and also denied his request to be transferred to an open prison.

Tasnim Lowe, now in her 20s, took part in a BBC documentary last year which investigated the circumstances of her mother’s murder and reported allegations that her father was linked to one of the country’s worst paedophile rings in Telford.

She declined to comment on the Parole Board’s decision when contacted by the PA news agency.

Mehmood and Lucy Lowe were described as having a stormy relationship and frequently argued, while he was branded “jealous and possessive” by prosecutors.

The court heard Mehmood tried to paint a “false picture” to police of what happened, claiming he was woken by the smoke alarm and escaped through a window.

But his taxi was spotted at a nearby petrol station moments before the blaze started and neighbours spotted him standing outside the property.

Traces of petrol were discovered in the living room and kitchen of the Lowes’ home which made the fire take hold quickly, trapping the teenagers and their mother upstairs.

Mehmood will be eligible for another parole review in the next two years, the date of which will be set by the Ministry of Justice.

PA