17032015Tue

Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Leicester House Fire that killed Pakistani family "May Have Been Revenge Attack"

Police have launched a murder investigation after four members of a Pakistani family were killed in an arson attack on a house in Leicester.

The incident happened in Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hill area of the city around 00.30 this morning. 

The fire caused extensive damage to the house which had been occupied by a woman - named locally as Shehnila Taufiq - in her late 40's and her three children, Zainab, 19, Bilal, 17 and Jamal Sattar, 15. 

Mrs Taufiq's neurosurgeon husband, Muhammed, had been away in Dublin on work.

Mr and Mrs Taufiq are originally from Pakistan although the three children were born and raised in Leicester.

Police said officers were "unable to rule out" the possibility the fire was linked to the murder of a man in Leicester city centre on Thursday.

Neighbour Soheb Ali, 22, told the BBC said locals had begun throwing bricks and stones at the windows when they noticed the fire, trying to let the smoke out Mrs Taufiq screamed to "save her children" as the fire spread.

"I heard people screaming and my mum could hear popping sounds, a bit like fireworks going off, and my dad could smell burning plastic," he said.

Emotional neighbours described the family as "religious" and "good neighbours".

A police spokesperson said: "The circumstances and cause of the fire are currently under investigation and officers would ask anyone who has any information regarding the incident to please contact them."

A separate murder investigation was launched on Thursday after a man in his twenties was assaulted in Kent Street at about 17:30 and later died in hospital.

Today, Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister of Leicestershire police urged witnesses to get in touch saying it was possible both offences, which he described as 'terrible, terrible crimes', were linked.

One line of inquiry is that the fire may have been a revenge attack for the killing earlier, Mr Bannister said.

He said: 'These are obviously both very serious incidents and the investigations are in their very early stages to establish if there are any links between them.'

He said the crimes might be linked because of the close locations and the space of time between them.

 

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