'Tight-knit community the key to solving murder' of Harlow family including five children

  • ITV News Anglia's Raveena Ghattaura reports on the new £20,000 Crimestoppers appeal

Detectives investigating a fatal house fire that killed six members of the same family believe that the key to finally solving the case lies in the "tight-knit community" where the murders took place.

Dr Sabah Usmani, her three sons Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine, and Rayyan, six, as well as daughters Hira, 12, and Maheen, three, all died after the fire at their home in Harlow, Essex, in 2012.

Dr Usmani's husband Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only member of the family to survive after jumping from his bedroom window to try and find help.

Firefighters had to restrain him in order to stop him going back inside to rescue his loved ones.

Dr Abdul Shakoor speaking on BBC One's Crimewatch Live. Credit: BBC Crimewatch Live

With nearly 12 years having now passed since the murders, police made a renewed appeal for information on BBC One's Crimewatch Live on Wednesday morning.

The deaths are still being treated as murder and officers are hopeful that a new Crimestoppers reward of up to £20,000 will help lead to a conviction.

"I'm fairly confident the answer still lies in Harlow," Det Ch Insp Louise Metcalfe told the BBC programme.

"It's a really tight-knit community. Now, we're 11 years on - time has passed and allegiances may have changed. I need them now to come forward with any information, no matter how small, to help me get justice for Dr Shakoor."

The scene of the fire in Harlow back in 2012. Credit: PA

Police have been working on the premise that the fire was started deliberately in a "burglary that went tragically wrong" after a laptop bag belonging to Dr Shakoor was found abandoned in bushes just over a mile away.

A neighbour's car was also set alight just yards away from the Shakoor family home on the night of the house fire.

Both of the incidents are being linked by officers.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Shakoor said that he had "lost everything" - but would never stop fighting for justice.

"It's been more than 11 years without knowing the truth about why my beautiful family was taken away," said Dr Shakoor.

"Our broken hearts have not healed. We are devastated. Help all of us to have the closure and the peace we deserve."

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