| 7°C Dublin

Dad fought to save mum and kids in house blaze

POLICE in the UK were today investigating whether a doctor and her four children who were killed in a suspected arson attack on their home were not the intended targets.

Sabah Usmani, sons Sohaib (11) and Rayan (six) and 12-year-old daughter Hira, died in their house in Harlow, Essex, in the early hours of yesterday.

Her husband, Abdul Shakoor, also a doctor, suffered minor injuries as he fought to rescue his family from the blaze.

A third son, Muneeb (9) and daughter Maheen (3) were rescued and taken to hospital in a critical condition but Muneeb later died.

Essex Police has said a possible line of inquiry is that the family were not the intended target of the attackers.

Dr Shakoor is not being treated as a suspect.

Detectives are working to establish a motive for the attack. There had been no previous problems with racism in the area, although there have been some earlier arson attacks on cars nearby.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge said: "In the history of Essex Police seldom has there been an incident of this gravity in which five people, four of them children, have lost their lives.

"The father of these children was in the property at the time and fought hard to save his family in appalling conditions."