Dublin doctor speaks of grief over death of wife and children in arson attack
Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar tells mosque he ‘deeply misses’ his ‘beautiful’ family
A local resident says a prayer outside the scene of the house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester, in which Shehnila Taufiq, her teenage sons Jamal and Bilal and daughter Zainab died. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Three women and two men are still being questioned by British police following Friday’s arson attack in Leicester which killed the wife and three children of a Dublin-based surgeon.
The three women, aged 19, 20, and 27 and two men, who are reported to be 19 and 49, were detained by Leicestershire police on Saturday afternoon.
Locals in Wood Hill gathered at a church for an hour of silent prayer to mourn the deaths of Shehnila Taufiq, her teenage sons Jamal (17) and Bilal (15) and daughter, Zainab (19).
On Saturday, Mrs Taufiq’s husband, Dublin-based neurosurgeon Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar spoke of his grief: “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,” he said.
Speaking outside Jame mosque where he worshipped with his family, Mr Taufiq Al Sattar, who works in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, and two private clinics, paid tribute to the people of Leicester.
“They made me feel that, despite losing my immediate entire family, the entire community in Leicester is family to me. Thank you very much,” he said, surrounded by fellow members of the mosque.
Earlier, privately, he had spoken emotionally to 1,500 worshippers in the Jame mosque n Spinney Hill, which he and his family joined when they moved to the east midlands city in 2007 for religious education for his children.
The mosque’s iman Muhammad Uwais later told reporters: “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.”
Police continue to investigate links between the deaths of his family and that of Antoin Akpom, a black man in his 20s, who died after being brutally attacked on Friday evening on a nearby street.
However, assistant chief constable Roger Bannister said: “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest those who died in the fire, or indeed anyone else who lives in that property, was involved.”
Three people, a 19-year-old man and two women of the same age, were detained for questioning on Saturday in connection with the murder of Mr Akpom, though the two women were later released without charge.
Forensic examination of the burnt-out home, where Mrs Taufiq and her children were found dead in an upstairs bedroom having been overcome by noxious smoke, continues.
Meanwhile, the family and friends of Mr Akpom, a soccer coach, mourned his death: “He was my baby brother, he was my best friend, and my right arm,” said his sister, Liane Murray.
His football club, Leicester Nirvana FC, held a minute’s silence at all of their teams’ games at the weekend in honour of Mr Akpom, who had hoped to train to be a teacher.
In a statement, his family said he had been “a loving and devoted father and a hard-working young man’, recognised locally for being a role model for the young.