Harlow: Police Renew Appeal On Fatal Fire

Pictures of a burnt-out house have been released as Essex police renew their appeal for information on a fatal fire in Harlow five months ago.

Dr Sabah Usmani and her children, Hira, 12, Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine, Rayyan, six, and three-year-old Maheen all died when a blaze ripped through the downstairs of their terraced house in Barn Mead last October.

Husband and father Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only survivor as he jumped from a bedroom window in a desperate attempt to get help.

Last night (Wednesday March 20th) Dr Shakoor appeared on the BBC's Crimewatch programme to make an emotional plea for information to catch those responsible.

Now Essex Police have released pictures of the damage caused by the blaze.


They show a living room gutted by flames with the walls blackened and stripped back to brick and burnt debris scattered across the floor.

It is thought the fire started after burglars targeted the house.

A car was found burnt out nearby in what may be a linked incident.

Speaking on the programme, Dr Shakoor said: "Why my family, why did somebody do this? They ruined my life, they took everything.''

Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, who is leading the investigation, said it was difficult to imagine the "horror and trauma'' Dr Shakoor experienced as he woke to find his home engulfed by flames.

He added: "Dr Shakoor chose to become a doctor so that he could help people; now he needs the public's help.

"I need the name of those people who burgled his home in Barn Mead, set fire to the car nearby and caused the house fire that has devastated a family. I want justice for Dr Shakoor and his family.

"Only Dr Shakoor's faith is giving him the strength to carry on with his life.

"He lost his wife and his beautiful children.

"I know that people in Harlow will know who is responsible. Please search your conscience and allow us to bring to justice those who are guilty, for the sake of a grieving man who has lost everything.''

Detectives are keen to trace a white man in his late teens to early 20s who was seen on a bicycle near the scene of the crime.

They also want to find the family's black Toshiba Satellite laptop computer which was taken in the burglary.

Essex Police have created a new Facebook appeal as another way of reaching Harlow residents who may be able to help.

Contact Essex Police on 01277 266869, Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or email scdappeals@essex.pnn.police.uk