A CORONER'S officer has broken down in tears while relaying how five children died in a house fire.

The children and their mother were killed when their Neasden home was engulfed by flames in the early hours of Saturday.

An inquest into the deaths of Muna Elmufatish, 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, and brothers Mustafa, five, and Yehya, two, was opened and adjourned at Barnet Coroner's Court, on Tuesday.

Coroner's officer Rebecca Smith outlined the facts for Andrew Walker, coroner for the northern district of greater London. As she read the victims' details, including Yehya's date of birth, her voice broke and she wiped away tears.

The children's father Bassam Kua, 51, and their 16-year-old sister Nur escaped the blaze at Sonia Gardens, in Neasden, but remain in hospital. The girl is critical, but stable, and her father is in a stable condition.

The coroner adjourned the inquest to February 16.

Post-mortem examinations found the six victims died from inhalation of fumes when the blaze raged through their home.

Investigations continue into what caused the devastating fire, which police do not believe was suspicious. The London Fire Brigade also said it was not thought a faulty fridge-freezer had been the cause.

On Monday, hundreds of schoolchildren gathered for a special assembly in memory of Hanin Kua and Basma at Crest Academy, in Neasden, where the sisters studied.

Principal Bev Bell told the assembled 900 pupils how much the sisters were loved and respected by all at the school.