Deptford arson: Mum issues renewed appeal over son killed in fire

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Joel Urhie and his mother Iroroefe UrhieImage source, Family
Image caption,
Joel's body was found in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his mother

The mother of a seven-year-old boy who died in an arson attack has appealed for help in finding her son's killers.

Joel Urhie's body was found in the bedroom he shared with his mother at the house in Adolphus Street, Deptford, south-east London, on 7 August 2018.

Detectives suspect his brother Sam, who was stabbed outside the home in June, was the target of a criminal gang.

Iroroefe O Edu said: "The perpetrators of this atrocity and dastardly crime have not been unearthed."

She added: "If you have any information or know anything, or anyone, who may be responsible for causing the fire, can you come forward please?"

Joel was found dead in the upstairs bedroom, but Miss Edu and his 19-year-old sister escaped by jumping out of a first-floor window.

The plan was for Miss Edu to cushion his fall, but the youngster never followed.

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
The ground floor, first floor and stairs were badly damaged

Joel's murder investigation is ongoing amid reports that his brother might have been the target and the arson attack was gang-related. Sam Uhrie, 21, was stabbed in a fight outside the property on 11 June.

Concerns were raised at the time over whether enough was done to safeguard the family.

The family's home could have been fitted with a panic alarm and a fire-proof letterbox if the family were at risk, sources previously told the the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

A year after the attack two men were arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life although both were released with no further action.

Two years later in August 2020, three further men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but were released under investigation.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Joel dreamed of becoming a firefighter, his family said

Detectives believe that the amount of time since the attack means witnesses are more likely to speak up.

Throughout the investigation, detectives have had a "suspicion that it might be related to gang membership," according to Det Ch Insp Mark Rogers, who admitted that they "can't say for sure".

He said: "Someone knows why this happened; I would ask that you search your conscience and do what is right."

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