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No intelligence suggested murderer Danai Muhammadi would use arson against his wife, concludes review

By Lynn Cox

Triple murderer Danai Muhammadi had hit his baby son and shown indications that he posed a risk to his family prior to the night he set fire to a house, killing his wife, child and father-in-law, a report concluded this week.

Embittered Muhammadi enlisted the help of his friend, Farhad Mahmud to set fire to Melissa Crook’s family home in Chatham Hill in September 2011.

The pair poured petrol through the letterbox at his estranged wife’s home, which killed his son and wife and, several days later, claimed the life of her father, Mark Crook, 49.
Muhammadi and Mahmud were jailed for life; Muhammadi for a minimum of 37 years and Mahmud for a mimimum of 34. Muhammadi’s girlfriend Emma Smith is serving 14 years for manslaughter. All three have failed in bids to get their sentences reduced.

Melissa Crook and her father Mark, who also died after the fire, on her wedding day

A review of the murders has concluded there was no intelligence to believe Muhammadi would carry out such an attack on his wife’s family.

However, the report, commissioned by the Kent Community Safety Partnership and Medway Community Safety Partnership, says indicators showed Muhammadi posed a risk of assault to Melissa, 20, and their 15-month-old son Noah.

The report pointed to “risk factors” such as the killer’s previous use of weapons and ongoing mental health issues, concluding: “a number of agencies possessed some of that information but did not recognise the significance and then share it”.

The aftermath of the fire in Chatham Hill

It went on to add that Muhammadi had hit his wife and baby at least once, admitted getting angry, and that “the way he dealt with it was by punching items”. In addition his alcohol and drug misuse coupled with his low moods and self harming were further indicators of risk.

“The lack of information sharing restricted any agency carrying out a full risk assessment of all the information available and therefore they were prevented from making complete risk reduction plans.”

Melissa Crook and her son Noah died in the fire

But it also concluded that the use of arson in domestic abuse was rare, adding: “there was no information held by any agency that (Muhammadi) was likely to carry out an arson attack and therefore understandably arson was not specifically included in any of the advice provided by agencies to (Melissa).”

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