Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
Fire deaths doctor tells of anguish
Police have said they cannot rule out a house fire in Leicester being linked to the murder of a man nearby (Rui Vieira/PA)
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. "
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 to pay their respects. A police spokesman later said the two women detained in connection with the Kent Street incident had been been released without charge. The women, both aged 19, were arrested in the Warwickshire area at about 4pm on Friday. The man being questioned over the death of Mr Akpom, who is also aged 19, remains in custody. He was arrested in London at around 5.30pm on Friday.
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 a 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."