Leicester Fire: 18-year-old charged over four killed in the blaze


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The Independent Online

An 18-year-old man has been charged with the murders of four members of the same family who were killed in a house fire.

Leicestershire Police said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had authorised the force to charge the man in relation to a deadly house blaze in Wood Hill, Leicester, in the early hours of Friday, 13 September.

Shehnila Taufiq, in her 40s, and her three children Bilal, 17, Jamal, 15 and Zainab, 19, died in the fire.

Mrs Taufiq's husband Muhammad Taufiq Al Sattar, a neurosurgeon - who was not in the house at the time, spoke of his grief at losing his “beautiful” wife and family.

Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, of Leicestershire Police, said there was no suspicion of a racially-motivated element to either the house fire deaths or, separately, the fatal stabbing of 20-year-old Antoin Akpom elsewhere in the city a few hours before the blaze.

He said: “l would like to thank the people of Leicester for their support during this complex investigation and for coping so patiently with the disruption during this investigation and that of the murder of Antoin Akpom on Kent Street.

“As a chief officer with Leicestershire Police I will continue to oversee the investigation and the wider impact on people in the city but the day-to-day investigation will continue to be run by the senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell.

“People will be pleased to hear the specialist support we have already provided to both of the victims' families will continue.”

He added: “We do not believe at this moment either the murder of Mr Akpom or the murders on Wood Hill are racially motivated.

Separately, Abdul Hakim, 19, of Wood Hill, Leicester, appeared at the city's magistrates' court yesterday, charged with Mr Akpom's murder.

He was found fatally wounded in Kent Street at 5.30pm on Thursday, a few hours before the deadly fire.

Additional reporting by PA