There is no bigger pain in this world than this experience: Mother's heartbreaking tribute to children murdered by Endris Mohammed
The devastated mother of two children murdered by their father has told of her heartbreak as she paid tribute to her son and daughter.
Penil Teklehaimanot said the two bought happiness and joy to her life and added: “I am still constantly looking for them both."
Ms Teklehaimanot was asleep when her husband Endris Mohammed smothered the children, who were having a 'sleepover' downstairs. He then set fire to the house, leaving all three for dead.
She survived the blaze but son Saros, aged eight, and daughter Leanor, six, were killed.
After her husband was found guilty of two counts of murder and one of attempted murder at Birmingham Crown Court, she said: "Saros and Leanor were taken away from me in a way which has had a profound effect and changed my life forever. Their loss has left a gap in my life that will never be filled.
"It is indescribable pain to lose loved ones in such a brutal manner. All I can say is that there is no bigger pain in this world than this experience. I cannot comprehend how anyone could be so cold-hearted. At a time like this, there are so many feelings – despair, anger, sorrow, confusion and so many questions still about why this happened?
"No one ever thinks that they’ll be saying goodbye to their two children. In our faith community we always try to give our young, the very best. They seem too full of life and all the promise of things to come. Their futures stretched out before them – like a book waiting to be read. Saros and Leanor brought so much happiness and joy to my life."
She added: "Saros’s teachers will tell you that he was the most polite well-mannered child. He was a pleasure to teach. He was one of the most amazing writers you could ever meet. The other children in school described him as really clever and smart, someone who always got lots of house points, someone who played nicely, was funny, nice, kind, a football fanatic, a son, a brother, a fighter, a fantastic and true friend.
"Leanor’s teachers will tell you she was a wonderful, mature girl because she would take on any challenge that faced her to the best of her ability. She would always listen to advice and try to use this to improve academically. She was well-behaved, cared about and had respect for doing the right thing. She always considered the needs of others but was competitive especially when it came to sport. She was a very popular member of her class, a daughter, a sister, a young lady with lots and lots of friends.
"This loss was also felt in the entire community reflected in the huge numbers of people who came to pay their respects at their funeral. When justice has been done the entire community and I can have some closure.
"I hope we’ll all gain strength from realising, as we look back on Saros and Leanor’s life and we remember with pleasure, the effect they had on everyone in such a short space of time. I am still constantly looking for them both."
Mohammed will be sentenced on Monday.