Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Street attack victim 'a loving dad'

Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar speaks about the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester.

The family of a 20-year-old man who died after a street attack in Leicester have described him as a loving father who was devoted to his young son.

Relatives of Antoin Akpom also offered their condolences to the friends and family of a mother and her three children who were killed in a suspected arson attack in the city.

Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, died with her 19-year-old daughter Zainab and sons, Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15, in the fire in Wood Hill, Leicester, in the early hours of Friday.

Police have said none of those killed in the fire had any link to the fatal attack on Mr Akpom, but detectives are investigating whether their home was mistakenly targeted in a revenge attack following his death.

In a statement appealing for calm in the community, Mr Akpom's uncle, Ronny Akpom, said: "Antoin was a loving and devoted father, a hard working young man recognised as a positive role model for all sections of the community.

"The memory of his smile and kindness will remain with everyone who knew him.

"An innocent life has been lost and the family calls for everyone to remain calm and united, and to assist the police with their inquiry.

"More than ever we need cohesion in the community now.

"Our deepest condolences go to the Sattar family, from Wood Hill, who have also tragically lost family members.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support at this time of unbearable grief."

A minute's silence was held before matches played by Leicester Nirvana FC this weekend as a mark of respect to Mr Akpom, a keen footballer and coach.

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz visited Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester, today after police lifted a cordon which had been in place since the fire.

The MP also attended the tribute to Mr Akpom at Leicester Nirvana FC.

Speaking near the fire scene, Mr Vaz said: "The whole city is in shock. The police have done a superb job so far and I think everyone wants to see the perpetrators of these five deaths brought to justice as quickly as possible.

"I have been to the Nirvana Football Club for a tribute to Antoin with his family. They are grief-stricken as Dr Sattar is grief-stricken.

"I think it's very, very important that we allow the police to get on with their work."

Mr Akpom's sister, Lianne Murray, told the BBC her brother had been her "best friend and right arm".

"He was happy, he was on a positive vibe and ambitious," she said. "He lit up the room."

Antoin was assaulted in Kent Street, Leicester, at about 5.30pm on Thursday, around seven hours before fire crews were called to nearby Wood Hill.

A 19-year-old man arrested in London on Friday remains in custody in connection with Mr Akpom's death.

Detectives are also questioning three women, aged 19, 20 and 27, and two men aged 49 and 19, in connection with the suspected arson attack.

Neurosurgeon Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar spoke yesterday of his pain at losing his wife, sons and daughter in the fire.

Addressing the media outside the Jame Mosque in Spinney Hills, Mr Satter said: "All of you know of the tragic incident in which my entire family has passed away.

"I deeply miss my beautiful wife and three beautiful children.

"What has happened has happened and nothing can be reversed but I hope justice prevails."

Before making his statement to the media, Mr Sattar also spoke to around 1,500 worshippers during special prayers at the mosque.

Describing Mr Sattar's "passionate" speech to the congregation, Imam and teacher Muhammad Uwais told reporters: "He said that he has been comforted by the condolences received from the community in Leicester and throughout the UK and abroad.

"He was adamant that he will not sit in a corner but carry on his family's mission of being good representatives of their faith, and he urged the congregation to do the exact same.

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