Endris Mohammed, aged 47, was convicted of killing his eight-year-old son Saros Endris and his six-year-old daughter Leanor Endris, following a two week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Mohammed was also convicted of attempting to kill the children’s mother, 36-year-old Penil Teklehaimanot.
The court heard that taxi driver Mohammed had killed the youngsters while they slept in the lounge, where they were allowed to stay as a special treat on 28 October 2016.
He smothered the children with a cloth doused in petrol before setting the house in Holland Road alight and driving off.
Before leaving, Mohammed locked the back door of the house and discarded the keys, before turning the electricity off and damaging the pipe to the gas cooker in an attempt to cause an explosion.
The children’s mother, who was asleep upstairs, was awoken by the smoke alarm sounding. Neighbours were alerted to her screams and helped carry the children outside, but both youngsters sadly died.
Penil was taken to hospital, but was not seriously hurt.
Mohammed was later found sitting in his Vauxhall Insignia car in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, suffering extensive burn injuries after setting fire to himself. He later told officers he had been suffering from financial worries.
Detective Inspector Justin Spanner from West Midlands police homicide team, said: “This is an absolutely tragic set of circumstances and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.
“The two children had been allowed to stay downstairs and sleep on a mattress as a special ‘sleepover’ treat. Their mum went to bed around midnight and left Mohammed with the youngsters. The next thing she knew was being awoken by the smoke alarm after he’d set fire to some clothing in the hall.
"Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, the two children could not be saved.
"Fortunately Penil was not badly injured, but it could have been a very different story; Mohammed had locked the family in the house before pouring petrol in the hallway and living room and setting fire to the house. He also turned the electricity off so she would not be able to see and attempted to disable the fire alarm.
"Finally he sabotaged the pipe to the gas cooker by stabbing the pipe numerous times in an attempt to release gas into the house, it’s very fortunate the fire did not take hold and cause an explosion. This would have resulted in the death of Penil as well as serious harm to neighbours."
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