Fire now murder case

A house fire that killed a mother and her five children in Harlow, Essex, last month is now being treated as a murder investigation, Essex Police said tonight.

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Crimewatch appeal generates new calls

Essex police say they've received a number of calls after a TV appeal over the house fire that killed a family of six in Harlow.

Dr Sabah Usmani and her five children died after the blaze last month. It's now being treated as murder.

In a fresh appeal on the BBC's crimewatch programme last night, police asked for information about a laptop stolen from the house on the night of the fire. Detectives described the case as tragic and unprecedented for the force.

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Crimestoppers offering reward for Harlow fire information

Crimestoppers have said it would pay the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

This is an absolutely heartbreaking incident which has devastated and shocked the entire community.

It is impossible to imagine how Dr Shakoor, who survived the fire, is coping with the loss of his family.

Please come forward to the independent charity Crimestoppers so this truly awful crime can be solved.

– Ann Scott, the Crimestoppers' eastern regional manager

Ann Scott added that people had "nothing to fear" by contacting Crimestoppers as all witnesses could remain anonymous.


Harlow fire investigation

Police in Essex are speaking to two young people, seen throwing away a laptop bag on the night of a fatal fire.

It's been revealed the house in Harlow - where Sabah Usmani and her five children died - was burgled on the night of the blaze.

Officers think several items, including a laptop, were taken after the family had gone to bed but before the fire was discovered.

Police say Harlow house was burgled before fire

Police reveal the home, where a mother and her five children were killed in a fire, was burgled on the night they died.

Sabah Usmani and her children were all killed after flames swept through their home in Harlow in Essex last month.

The children's father survived.

Police have said his laptop bag was discovered abandoned, two weeks after the fire.

Ria Chatterjee reports on the latest developments in the investigation.

Police: 'Unsuccessful attempts to break into nearby properties'

Recent developments have moved the investigation forward in a number of directions and we now believe that there was a burglary at Dr Shakoor's house in Barn Mead in which items were removed from the house.

We believe that this burglary took place after the family had gone to bed and before the fire was discovered.

Our inquiries have revealed that in Harlow during the same evening and early morning there were two other unsuccessful attempts to break in to other properties and one where entry was gained but the suspect was disturbed and nothing was taken.

How these incidents relate to the current investigation is ongoing.

– Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson
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