Deptford fire: Two men arrested on suspicion of murder over death of seven-year-old

Males aged 21 and 29 held over suspected arson attack that killed Joel Uhrie at his south London home

Tom Barnes
Saturday 11 August 2018 18:35 BST
Deptford fire: Father of seven-year-old boy who died in Deptford house fire speaks out

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a seven-year-old boy in a south London house fire.

The pair, aged 21 and 29, were detained on Saturday morning in connection with the suspected arson attack in Deptford that killed Joel Uhrie, the Metropolitan Police said.

Joel died when the blaze broke out at his home in Adolphus Street on Tuesday, which also injured his mother, Sophie, and sister, Sarah, when they jumped from a first-floor window to escape.

Police said the two suspects were being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

They were taken to a south London police station for questioning, where they remain in custody.

Detectives seized CCTV footage from a nearby home earlier this week as they followed several lines of enquiry.

DCI Mark Wrigley said police were keeping an open mind concerning a potential motive for the murder and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“This horrific incident has left a family shattered and the tragic loss of such a young life in suspicious circumstances resonates throughout the community in Deptford,” he said.

The Uhrie family's home remains boarded up following the fatal fire earlier this week (PA)

“Our sympathies are with Joel's family and friends at this tragic time as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.”

“I would directly appeal to anyone who was in the area and saw anything suspicious at around 3.30am, or who has any information about who was responsible for starting the fire that claimed the life of an innocent child, to contact police immediately.”

A postmortem examination on Wednesday concluded the boy’s cause of death was “consistent with fire and smoke inhalation”, the Met said.

Mourners including Joel's uncle left floral tributes, cards, soft toys and balloons at the scene, while the doors and windows of the house were secured with metal shutters.

The boy's aunt, Ruth Urhie, said his mother is still in hospital, while his sister, who has been discharged, is staying with old friends.

Ruth Urhie, who is Joel's father John's older sister, added: “I was with him yesterday. He's fine but he's still in shock.”

After she was discharged from hospital on Wednesday, 19-year-old Sarah paid tribute to her brother in posts on Twitter.

“Rest in perfect peace my amazing little brother Joel,” she wrote: “Nothing makes sense right now, I love you.”

Additional reporting by PA

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in