Essex

Harlow house fire deaths: Plea for 'closure' in 2012 case

Sabah Usmani and her children who died in house fire in Harlow Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Sabah Usmani and her five children died in the fire at their home in October 2012

Friends of a doctor whose family died in an arson attack have voiced "frustration" that nobody has yet been caught.

Dr Sabah Usmani and children Hira, 12, Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine, Rayyan, six and three-year-old Maheen all died as a result of the fire in Harlow in 2012.

Only Dr Abdul Shakoor, who leapt from a first floor window, survived the fire.

Essex Police said it remained "committed as ever" to solving the case.

The Shakoor case has the largest victim tally of any of Essex Police's unsolved murder investigations.

An appeal in October marking the fifth anniversary of the deaths did not yield any new leads, police confirmed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dr Abdul Shakoor, pictured with his wife Dr Sabah Usmani, survived the blaze

Zaheer Ahmed, a friend of Dr Shakoor, who went into the property with the grieving father after the fire, said what he saw will haunt him forever.

He said many Muslims in the town initially feared the fire was a targeted attack because of the family's faith.

"The whole community here came together," said Mr Ahmed. "Not just the Muslim community, the Jewish and the Christian communities too.

"Friendships were made, and those friendships have lasted."

Image caption Zaheer Ahmed, a friend of the Shakoors, was one of the people who went in to the Barn Mead house after the fire

Ajaib Hussain, chairman of the Harlow Islamic Centre at the time of the killings, said: "It is really frustrating, especially as there hasn't been any closure in five years.

"It is a long time and there hasn't been any further development. That is frustrating for the whole community.

"We do need some sort of closure."

Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings said: "We are still desperate to find answers for Dr Shakoor, who lost his wife and children, and bring those responsible for this heinous crime to justice.

"Five years on from their deaths we remain as committed as ever to solving this murder."

Image caption The fire in Harlow brought people from different backgrounds together, says Zaheer Ahmed

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites