Death of Dublin-based doctor’s wife and children in UK treated as murder
Woman and three teenagers who died in Leicester fire regularly visited father in Ireland
Local residents near to the scene of a house fire at Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
The wife and three teenage children of a man who is currently working in a Dublin hospital have died in a Leicester house fire, which is being linked to a murder which took place in the East Midlands hours earlier.
Police in the UK have said they are treating the deaths as murder.
Eye-witnesses to the blaze in the Wood Hill district in the English city today described flames “shooting” up from the two-storey terraced property, where coming from the house of Wood Hill during last night’s blaze.
Police have cordoned off the red-brick property for forensic examination: “Police were called at around 12.35am this morning by the fire service following a report of a fire at a house on Wood Hill, Leicester.
“On attendance it was reported that occupants were still inside the property and four people were found deceased in upstairs bedrooms. The fire, which caused extensive damage to the property, was extinguished by the fire service,” said Leicester Police.
The BBC reports that police are “unable to rule out” the possibility that the fire was linked to the murder of a man in his twenties in Leicester city centre yesterday evening, who died in hospital hours after he was attacked.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Cure, who is leading inquiry into the man’s death, said this morning: “Our investigation is in its very early stages and we are currently carrying out a number of enquiries to try to establish what has happened.”
Today, the local Leicester Mercury newspaper said the victims, described as a “humble, spiritual and learned family”, have been named locally as mother Shehnila Taufiq who was in her 40s, and her teenage children, Zainab, Bilal and Jamal Sattar.
Ms Taufiq’s husband, Dr Taufiq Sattar, is understood to have been in Dublin where he works at Beaumont Hospital , at the time of the fire. Family friends, who asked not to be named, said he had flown back from Ireland early this morning, the Mercury reported.
Mrs Taufiq’s neurosurgeon husband, Mohammad Sattar, is believed to be en route home from Ireland where he works.
Neighbours of the family reacted with disbelief to the idea that they could have been intentionally killed .
A middle-aged man, who did not want to be named, said: “I didn’t know the family personally but I knew of them and they were a very nice family. “Most people feel this was meant for somebody else and they got the wrong house. “The family were very well-educated. He was a brain surgeon in Ireland and he brought his family over here to study Islamic literature.
“The lads were very pious and one of them was memorising the Koran and was on the ninth chapter.”
Describing the blaze, the witness said: “I was in bed at about midnight and I heard all the commotion and thought it was drunks or whatever, and then I heard shouting. “The guy opposite broke the door down but the fire was so intense they couldn’t get in.
“They were throwing bricks at the windows at the top of the house to alert them inside but I think it was too late. “The fire was very intense and you could feel the heat of it across the road. “The neighbours tried their level best but it was too severe.”