Saturday 18 November 2017

Teen remanded over Leicester fire deaths that killed family of Dublin surgeon

The scene of a fatal house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester
The scene of a fatal house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester
The scene of a fatal house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester

An 18-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering a mother and her three teenage children who died in a house fire.

Kemo Anthony Porter, who is accused of killing Shehnila Taufiq, 47, her daughter Zainab, 19, and sons Bilal, 17, and Jamil, 15, was not required to indicate any plea during a two-minute hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court.

Porter, of Browning Street, Leicester, spoke only to confirm his name, address and date-of-birth and was remanded in custody to appear by videolink at the city's Crown Court on Monday.

Meanwhile, inquests have opened into the deaths of the family at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, early last Friday.

At a short hearing at Leicester Town Hall, Leicester coroner Catherine Mason opened and adjourned inquests into the four deaths.

The inquest heard Mrs Taufiq was a mature student living in Leicester with her children, who were also studying in the city.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, senior investigating officer at Leicestershire Police, told the hearing the four family members had been formally identified by a dental examination.

The cause of death was given as smoke inhalation.

Ms Meynell told the hearing: "The deaths are being treated as suspicious and a man has been charged in connection with the deaths and inquiries are continuing."

Adjourning the inquest to a date to be set, Mrs Mason said: "The family would like to have their loved ones back so that they can rightly and respectfully lay them to rest.

"However in the circumstances it is not possible, but as in all losses I will work very hard to ensure that there is the lawful release at the earliest opportunity so that funeral arrangements can continue."

No family were at today's hearing.

In a statement issued yesterday, Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, of Leicestershire Police, said there was no suspicion of a racially-motivated element to either the house fire or, separately, the fatal stabbing elsewhere in the city of 20-year-old Antoin Akpom.

The senior officer said: "I would like to thank the people of Leicester for their support during this complex investigation.

"Because legal procedures now apply to prevent any prejudice being caused to any defendant, no further comment will be made on the circumstances of the case."

Porter, who appeared in the dock wearing a plain grey sweater and jogging bottoms, is formally accused of murdering the four family members on Friday September 13.

No members of the Taufiq family were present during Porter's appearance.

Press Association

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