A mother of five was killed in east London on the instructions of her husband because she had become too powerful, a court heard.

Fiza Asif, 28, was suffocated and her body set on fire by her brother-in-law after husband Muhammed Arshad got on a plane to Pakistan, jurors heard.

Abdul Jabbar had bought five litres of petrol and left the house in Palmerston Road, Walthamstow on January 4 last year, 11 minutes before it became engulfed in flames, said Zoe Johnson QC, prosecuting.

Arshad, 42, and Jabbar, 54, deny murder and conspiracy to murder. Jabbar's son Ibrahim Farooq, 19, denies perverting justice by giving his father a false alibi.

Miss Johnson told the Old Bailey: "Both men, who were older than Fiza, believed a woman was dispensable if she became too powerful.

"It seems that she was the first one of the group to get legitimacy in this country and therefore access to services and benefits.

"She simply had too much power and services within the household."

Miss Johnson said Fiza Asif took out a lease on a chicken shop in Tottenham, north London, in her name and this, along with the benefits, was the only income for the extended family.

She had threatened to have illegal immigrant Jabbar and his family deported and also "held the purse strings".

"Arshad and Jabbar planned to kill Fiza and put the house in Arshad's name. This would preserve their household and their livelihood," she said. The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.