Teenager charged with fire murders
An 18-year-old man has been charged with the murders of four members of the same family who died in a house fire.
Leicestershire Police said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had authorised the force to charge the man in relation to a deadly house blaze in Wood Hill, Leicester, in the early hours of Friday, September 13.
The fire killed Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, her 19-year-old daughter Zainab and sons Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15. After their deaths, Mrs Taufiq's husband Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar, a neurosurgeon who was not in the house at the time, spoke of his grief at losing his "beautiful" wife and family.
Steve Chappell, chief crown prosecutor at CPS East Midlands, said lawyers had decided there was sufficient evidence to charge and it was in the public interest for a prosecution to take place.
He said: "It is important to note proceedings are now active, and the accused is entitled to a fair trial. Nothing should be said or reported that would prejudice that right." The man will appear at Leicester Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, of Leicestershire Police, said there was no suspicion of a racially-motivated element to either the house fire killings or, separately, the fatal stabbing elsewhere in the city a few hours before the blaze, of 20-year-old Antoin Akpom.
He said: "l would like to thank the people of Leicester for their support during this complex investigation... I will continue to oversee the investigation and the wider impact on people in the city but the day-to-day investigation will continue to be run by the senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell.
"People will be pleased to hear the specialist support we have already provided to both of the victims' families will continue."
He added: "We do not believe at this moment either the murder of Mr Akpom or the murders on Wood Hill are racially motivated... Further appeals may well be made by the senior investigating officer and I would ask for the public to help coming forward whenever they can and I would urge people who may have information and haven't come forward already to use Crimestoppers where they can report information anonymously."
Separately, Abdul Hakim, 19, of Wood Hill, Leicester, appeared at the city's magistrates' court on Wednesday, charged with Mr Akpom's murder. He was found fatally wounded in Kent Street at 5.30pm on Thursday, a few hours before the deadly blaze.