Five held in blaze family probe
Published 14/09/2013 | 18:36
Five people have been arrested in connection with a suspected arson attack which claimed the lives of four members of the same family.
Leicestershire Police said three women aged 19, 20, and 27, and two men, aged 49 and 19, were detained over the fatal blaze today.
News of the arrests came minutes after Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar spoke of his pain at the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester.
In his statement to the media, made after special prayers were said for his family at his local m osque, Mr Sattar said he hoped justice would prevail.
The doctor, who works as a neurosurgeon in Ireland, also thanked members of the community for supporting him since the deaths of his "beautiful" wife, daughter and sons.
Summoning the courage and strength to speak publicly for almost two minutes just a day after learning of the deaths on his return to the UK, Mr Sattar 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 and in future this should not happen to any family in the UK."
Thanking the police for their work to investigate yesterday's fatal blaze, the bereaved husband added: "The people of Leicester have been very supportive.
"A real big thanks to the police department in Leicestershire for their good work and the media for being patient and understanding the pain which I am going through at present.
"I am also thankful to the local mosque - they made me feel that despite losing my immediate entire family, the entire community in Leicester is family to me."
Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, died with her 19-year-old daughter and sons, aged 17 and 15, in the blaze at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, early yesterday.
It is feared the family's property was targeted by mistake in a revenge attack following a fatal assault in nearby Kent Street. Inquiries have found no evidence to suggest anyone who lived at the fire-hit property was involved in any way with the earlier incident.
Leicestershire's Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister said in a statement: "While we are investigating links between the two crimes there is absolutely no evidence to suggest those who died in the fire, or indeed anyone else who lives in that property, was involved in the assault in Kent Street.
"Because of the close proximity - in terms of time and location - of the two incidents, it is right that we look at whether there are links between the two crimes.
"However, at this stage in our investigations we have found nothing to suggest the residents of the house devastated by the fire had anything to do with the Kent Street incident."
A man and two women have been arrested in connection with the murder of the man who was attacked in Kent Street, but no arrests have yet been made in connection with the fire.
Friends of the victim of the Kent Street attack, named in reports as Antoin Akpom, visited the scene today to pay their respects but were too upset to speak to reporters.
Before making his statement to the media, Mr Sattar also spoke to around 1,500 worshippers during prayers at the Jame Mosque in Spinney Hill.
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 said he had come to Leicester in 2007 after being impressed with its community and its educational system.
"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."
Mr Bannister gave further details of the police inquiry during a press conference at the headquarters of Leicestershire Police.
Appealing for information to assist inquiries into the fatal fire and the murder in Kent Street, the senior officer said: "I would like to thank the people of Leicester for their support, for the way they have accepted the disruption that our investigations may well have caused and been patient as we continue our extensive but very thorough forensic enquiries.
"What we are absolutely confident about at this stage, is that there is no evidence to suggest any of the family killed in the fire, or anyone who lived at that address, was in any way involved in the incident at Kent Street.
"I appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.
"Two families have been devastated, whole communities have been rocked by these two events. If you know anything at all, please don't hold back, listen to your conscience and contact us."