Fire deaths treated as murder

Harlow blaze deaths treated as murder Credit: PA

Detectives investigating a house fire which killed six members of the same family are treating the deaths as murder, police said tonight.

Sabah Usmani, 44, her sons Muneeb, nine, and Rayyan, six, and daughter Hira, 12, died in the blaze in the early hours of October 15 at their home in Barn Mead, Harlow, Essex.

A third son, Sohaib, 11, and daughter Maheen, three, died later in hospital.

Dr Usmani's husband, Abdul Shakoor, was the only survivor.

The case was featured on last night's Crimewatch, in which police made a public appeal.

The house had been burgled on the night of the fire and police believe there are a number of clues that could help them.

The police now need the public's help.

They've urged people to come forward with any information, so they can find out who's responsible for these murders - which have destroyed a family.

Essex Police said tonight: "Evidence from fire scientists has indicated that the likely cause of the fire was malicious ignition.

"Detectives know that there was a burglary at the house on the same evening/early morning of the fire and are re-appealing for information and witnesses."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Operation Shakespeare investigation team on 01277 266869 or 0800 056 0944 or on or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.