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Watch: Five years on and Essex Police re-new Harlow fire appeal

The damaged family home in Harlow, Essex Credit: Essex Police

Essex police are re-appealing for witnesses to a house five which killed a mother and her five children in Harlow in 2012.

44-year old Dr Sabah Usmani and her daughters Hira and Maheen and three sons Sohaib, Muneeb and Rayyan were asleep when the fire broke out at their home in Barn Mead on 15th October.

The investigation has been one of the most complex Essex police have ever undertaken and remains unsolved.

Watch a short interview with Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings from Essex Police.

Fresh appeal over crucial lines of enquiry five years since Harlow house fire

Police appeal for family laptop taken from the house Credit: Essex Police

Five years on from a house fire in Harlow which killed a mother and her five children, police are re-appealing for help to find those who started it.

Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only one of his family who survived when he jumped out of a window to try and find help as the fire engulfed their home in Barn Mead. His wife and children all died.

Police launched a murder investigation but have never been able to find who was responsible.

They're renewing a public appeal to help try and solve the case - which they say is one of the most complex they've ever worked on.

Dr Sabah Usmani and her five children Credit: Essex Police
Inside the Shakoor family home Credit: Essex Police

"Every day I think about my wife and children, the pain has never gone away. It is impossible to put in to words the pain and grief I have endured at the loss of my entire family. I will never understand why somebody did this and I live in hope that someday someone may come forward with information. If you do know anything, please contact Essex Police.”

– Dr Shakoor

The murder investigation has been one of the most difficult and challenging carried out by Essex Police.

To date more than 70 police officers and staff have worked on the case, nearly 500 people have given witness statements and 1,800 exhibits were collected and stored.

Police officers have worked on the case

"Five years on and we are still committed to solving this murder investigation and securing justice for Dr Shakoor and his family. We know the answer to this investigation lies within the community of Harlow. Five years on and loyalties that once existed may have changed. If you do know anything about the events of that night and who was responsible please, for the sake of Dr Shakoor and his family, do the right thing and come forward.”

– DCI Stephen Jennings, Senior Investigating Officer, Essex Police
An image of the missing laptop Credit: Essex Police

Detectives are now appealing for help with the following lines of enquiry:

  • A white man aged in his late teens/early 20s was seen in the area on a bicycle and could be a key witness.
  • The family laptop, a black Toshiba Satellite was taken from the house in a burglary. This has not been located.
  • The laptop bag and lead were later recovered near to the scene between Whitewaits and St Michael’s Close. Did you see these items being dumped?
  • Attached to the laptop lead was a shaver adapter plug. This did not belong to the Shakoor family which suggests someone tried to use the plug.
  • Do you know anything about the silver Ford Focus which was set alight?
  • In November 2012 a person rang Harlow police station from a phone box and left a message about the fire. Are you that person?
  • Also in November 2012 a piece of paper about the murder investigation was left on a shelf in Boots in Harlow. Did you leave that piece of paper?


Police given more power to stop crime and disorder in Harlow

Harlow town centre Credit: ITV News Anglia

A dispersal order has been put in place in Harlow town centre to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime overnight.

The order gives police enhanced powers between 10pm (Saturday 30th Sept) and 6am (Sunday 1st October) to order anyone to leave the area if they have reasonable grounds to believe they are involved in crime and disorder.

Anyone who refuses to leave the area once directed can be arrested and, if convicted, they could face up to a three month prison sentence and £2,500 fine.

"We have had several complaints from local residents and business owners regarding drug use, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. We believe a number of reports are happening when people are leaving premises in the town centre following a night out. In some cases people are congregating and the dispersal order permits officers to exclude persons from an area during its duration, helping to tackle crime associated with alcohol consumption and illegal drug use at night."

– Insp Tony Walker, Harlow Community Policing team

Police hunt fake charity collector targeting vulnerable people

An efit image of a woman police in Harlow would like to trace in connection with a burglary and fraudulent charity collection. Credit: Essex Police

Police in Essex are hunting a fake charity collector in the Harlow area who is targeting vulnerable people.

They have issued an efit image of a woman they would like to speak to in connection to a burglary and a number of fraudulent incidents.

On Monday 28 August the woman went to a house in Halling Hill claiming to be a charity representative and asked to use the victim’s toilet.

The victim, a woman in her late-80s, but then heard her in an upstairs bedroom. The victim confronted the woman and asked her to leave. Items had been disturbed in the bedroom.

Later officers received reports that a woman matching the same description, had approached a number of houses in Long Ley, saying she was deaf and was collecting money for a deaf children’s charity.


Stuart Lubbock's father welcomes Barrymore damages decision

Terry Lubbock, the father of a man found dead in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The father of the man found dead in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool has welcomed the High Court's ruling that the entertainer should get damages from Essex Police.

Stuart Lubbock's father Terry says the publicity will keep his campaign to get to the truth behind his son's death in the public eye.

After Stuart Lubbock was found raped and murdered at the Michael Barrymore's home near Harlow in 2001, the star's television career was effectively halted.

He was arrested in 2007 in connection with Mr Lubbock's death but later released without charge. He wants millions to replace his potential loss of earnings.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer
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