Saturday 21 April 2018

Dublin doctor tells of anguish after family fire death

Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar said he would
Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar said he would "deeply miss" his "beautiful" wife, daughter and two teenage sons who died in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, and called for justice to prevail.

Matthew Cooper, John Fahey and Ed Carty

A neurosurgeon has spoken of his grief after his family was killed in a suspected arson attack as police continue to question five people over the fatal house fire.

Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar said he would "deeply miss" his "beautiful" wife, daughter and two teenage sons who died in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, and called for justice to prevail.

Three women aged 19, 20, and 27 and two men aged 49 and 19 have been arrested in connection with the the fatal blaze, Leicestershire Police said.

Mr Sattar, who works in Ireland, spoke publicly after special prayers were said for his family at his local mosque yesterday, just a day after learning of the deaths on his return to the UK.

"All of you know of the tragic incident in which my entire family has passed away," he said.

"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."

"The people of Leicester have been very supportive," he added.

"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 Zainab and sons, Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15, in the fire in the early hours of Friday.

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: "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 Kent Street murder as friends of the victim, named in reports as Antoin Akpom, visited the scene yesterday to pay their respects.

His mother Cheryl Armatrading told ITV News: "Antoin was a beautiful boy. He had just had a young baby and had a good job.

"I just want to know if anybody knows who killed my boy. I don't know how I'm going to deal with this. It's too much."

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."

Speaking at the headquarters of Leicestershire police, Mr Bannister appealed for information to assist inquiries into the fatal fire and the murder in Kent Street.

The senior officer said: "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."

Press Association

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