Man and woman held over murder of family

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The Independent Online

Detectives hunting the killer of a mother and her three children have arrested a man and woman.

It emerged yesterday that Uzma Arshad, 32, her daughter Henne, six, and sons Abbas, eight, and 11-year-old Adam had probably all been killed as long as three weeks before they were found. Police said all four had died of head injuries.

As the international hunt for her husband Rahan Arshad, 36, continued, officers said they had arrested a 35-year-old mother of four children and a 40-year-old man on suspicion of murder. While both are from the Burnage area, police would not confirm whether they are related.

Detective Superintendent Martin Bottomley said they believed Mr Arshad had fled the country on about 29 July. The taxi driver's BMW was found at Heathrow's Terminal Three though it is unknown whether he travelled to Pakistan where he has relatives.

The murdered family were not found until last Sunday when neighbours in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport, distressed by the stench and flies, called the police for a second time.

Officers from Greater Manchester Police would say little more about the two people they arrested.

Neighbours near the woman's semi-detached house described her as a pleasant, willowy and smartly dressed lady whose husband often travelled to Pakistan and Germany while his brother had a taxi firm.

Yesterday, forensic science experts were examining the arrested woman's home which has been on the market since June. A neighbour of the woman, Lily Duffy, 69, said: "They were very nice people although I never really saw them together. She was always very well dressed often in Asian dress. He was backwards and forwards to Pakistan a lot after his father died."

Another resident, 70, said: "They just seemed like a normal nice family. It's come as a shock."

Another neighbour said: "There always seemed to be a succession of nice cars outside the house. They obviously never wanted for anything. I think he might have been a bit of a wheeler dealer. We just saw all the police outside there today and wondered what had happened. It's a mystery what has gone on."

Detectives have contacted forces overseas and checked airline manifests for lists of passengers but do not yet know Mr Arshad's exact whereabouts.