Bereaved husband pays tribute to wife and three children
Five arrested in connection with suspected arson attack on Leicester home
Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar outside his local mosque in Leicester, speaking about the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester. Photograph: Matthew Cooper/PA Wire
British MP Keith Vaz (centre) meets residents yesterday near the scene of a house fire (in background) at Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester, which claimed the lives of Shehnila Taufiq and her three children. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
The scene of the fatal house fire at Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hills areaof Leicester which claimed the lives of four people. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Five people have been arrested in connection with a suspected arson attack which claimed the lives of four members of the same family.
Leicestershire Police said three women aged 19, 20, and 27, and two men, aged 49 and 19, were detained.
News of the arrests came minutes after Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar spoke of his pain at the loss of his wife, daughter and teenage sons in a severe fire at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester.
The Dublin-based doctor 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.”
Reading a statement to the media after special prayers were said for his family at his local mosque in Leicester, Dr Taufiq Al Sattar said he hoped justice would prevail.
The doctor, who works as a neurosurgeon in Beaumont Hospital, also thanked members of the community for supporting him since the deaths of his “beautiful” wife, daughter and sons.
Summoning the courage and strength to speak publicly for almost two minutes just a day after learning of the deaths, Dr Sattar said: “All of you know of the tragic incident in which my entire family has passed away.
“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.”
Thanking the police for their work to investigate yesterday’s fatal blaze, the bereaved husband added: “The people of Leicester have been very supportive.
“A real big thanks to the police department in Leicestershire for their good work and the media for being patient and understanding the pain which I am going through at present.
“I am also thankful to the local mosque — they made me feel that despite losing my immediate entire family, the entire community in Leicester is family to me.”
Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, died with her 19-year-old daughter and sons, aged 17 and 15, in the blaze at their home in Wood Hill, Leicester, early yesterday.
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 in a statement: “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.”
Before making his statement to the media, Dr Sattar also spoke to around 1,500 worshippers during prayers at the Jame Mosque in Spinney Hill.
Describing Dr Sattar’s “passionate” speech to the congregation, Imam and teacher Muhammad Uwais told reporters: “He said that he has been comforted by the condolences received from the community in Leicester and throughout the UK and abroad.
“He said he had come to Leicester in 2007 after being impressed with its community and its educational system.
“He was adamant that he will not sit in a corner but carry on his family’s mission of being good representatives of their faith, and he urged the congregation to do the exact same.”
It is understood Mr Sattar’s wife was a qualified doctor but was not working.
The children moved to the UK with their mother about five years ago for Islamic education which is not available in Ireland, but returned regularly to be with their father at the family home in the Castleknock area.
Forensic examination of the fire scene and the surrounding street is under way. Police said in a statement: “The whole area is being carefully examined, which may take some time. Specially trained officers will be searching for evidence connected to the incident and this requires careful searching under and around vehicles parked in the street, front gardens and pavements.
“Detectives would like to thank the residents of Wood Hill for their patience and co-operation while this is ongoing.”