United Kingdom

Handyman accused of murdering doctor and her daughter, 14, tried to steer blame on to the schoolgirl

The builder accused of murdering a doctor and her teenage daughter in their home  tried to steer the blame on the schoolgirl for the deaths, a jury has heard.

Shahbaz Khan, 51, who was arrested last year over the murders of Dr Saman Mir Sacharvi, 49, and her 14-year-old daughter Vian Mangrio in Lancashire, made a 'cynical attempt' to portray the relationship between the pair as bitter.

The handyman wrote 'Covid 19 house my mum is evil' and 'Help me' on the walls inside the property in an attempt to steer the blame onto Ms Mangrio for her mother's death, prosecutors said today.  

Khan, who had previously carried out repairs at Dr Sacharvi's home, had arrived at her address near Burnley, Lancashire, shortly before 11.50am on September 30 where he was expected to continue more building work, the court was told. 

But on October 1, Dr Sacharvi, a doctor with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, and her daughter were found dead in their smoke and fire-damaged house. 

Dr Saman Mir Sacharvi, 49, and her 14-year-old daughter Vian Mangrio were found dead in their smoke and fire-damaged house near Burnley, Lancashire, on October 

Investigation teams outside the property belonging to the mother and daughter following their deaths

Post-mortem examinations revealed the doctor died from pressure to the neck and the schoolgirl died of asphyxia. 

David McLachlan QC, opening the prosecution case, said in the previous week the doctor collected her daughter early from school after she reported Covid-19 symptoms. 

The clinician emailed colleagues at the NHS on September 28 to inform them they were self-isolating as they awaited Miss Mangrio’s coronavirus test result, which later proved negative.

When the police and crime scene investigators entered the address they saw writing on the walls, continued the prosecutor.  

Mr McLachlan said: 'The writing said things such as ''Covid 19 house my mum is evil'', ''Covid home'' and ''Help me''.

'It is the prosecution case that this was a cynical attempt by Shahbaz Khan to portray the relationship between Dr Saman and her daughter Vian Mangrio as a bitter one in order to steer the blame away from him. An attempt to put the blame onto Vian Mangrio for her mother's death.' 

Khan had arrived at the address shortly before 11.50am on September 30 where he was expected to continue more building work, the court was told.   

Moments later, Dr Sacharvi sent an email to a colleague and was expected to join a Microsoft Teams meeting between 1pm and 4pm, but did not attend and the Wi-Fi was no longer active from about 1.50pm.

It is alleged that Khan killed the doctor before Miss Mangrio arrived back home from school at 3.25pm and then attacked her daughter.

Both victims' mobile phones were detached from the network later in the afternoon and Khan did not return calls to his phone as he left the house at 10pm, the court heard.

Vian Mangrio was described as a 'loving, caring, intelligent and gifted child' by her father

Flowers left at the scene in Burnley following the deaths of the mother and daughter

Later recovered from the crime scene were two small bottles of Blossom Hill rose wine and a small bottle of strawberry and banana Innocent smoothie bought by the defendant the day before the killings, said Mr McLachlan.

Mr McLachlan said when news of the deaths emerged in the following days the defendant told a friend he had last seen Dr Sacharvi a few days ago when he put some picture frames up for her and said to someone else he had not been at the house since the extension work.

Khan was arrested on October 4 and police searched his home where they discovered in the loft a bag containing items of gold jewellery, worth tens of thousands of pounds, belonging to Dr Sacharvi. 

Last year, Vian's father Dr Shaukat Mangrio paid tribute to his daughter, explaining how his 'loving, caring, intelligent and gifted child' had a dream to attend Cambridge University.  

'She had a bright future, which sadly has been cut short,' he said.

'She was a young lady with a beautiful smile; she was vibrant and lit up a room when she entered it; she had a zest for life, fashion, art and passion to pursue a career in law.

'It was her dream to gain admission to Cambridge University and I have no doubt she would have achieved this goal and much more.  

'I am deeply saddened and heartbroken that she is no more amongst us and unable to pursue a life she deserved.

'I miss my Vian, whose company I adored and would never tire of; there was no joy beyond this. She was an innocent child, pure and full of hope, for whom I lived for; she was my friend, my life, my everything.' 

Khan, of Burnley, denies two counts of murder and one count of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

His wife, Rabia Shahbaz, 45, also denies doing an act intended to pervert the course of public justice, namely providing a false alibi for her husband.

The trial is estimated to last up to four weeks, with the prosecution opening continuing on Tuesday.

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