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Street attack victim 'a loving dad'

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, 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."

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 detained three women, aged 19, 20 and 27, and two men aged 49 and 19, on Saturday in connection with the suspected arson attack. The 19-year-old man has since been released without charge, but an 18-year-old man has now been arrested in connection with the fire.


From Belfast Telegraph