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Harlow fatal fire: Reward offered for information leading to conviction

A reward of up to £10,000 is being offered after a fatal house fire in which a man tragically lost his wife and five children.

The reward is being offered by the independent crime-fighting charity
Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) involved in offences at the home address in Barn Mean which later saw the death of six members of Dr Shakoor’s family.

The incident happened at the family home of Dr Shakoor in Barn Mead, Harlow, in the early hours of Monday 15 October.

Photo: Dr Shakoor's family

Emergency services fought to save his family but Sabah, his 44-year-old wife and a qualified doctor, their daughter Hira,12, and sons Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine and Rayyan, six, died that day. His
daughter Maheen, three, was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but later died just days before her fourth birthday. The cause of the fire is yet to be established.

A Ford Focus car was also set alight a short distance away from the house in a car park but it is not connected to the family involved in the house fire. The car fire is being treated as arson.

Ann Scott, Eastern Regional Manager for Crimestoppers, said: “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.

Photo: Damage caused by the fire

"Please come forward to the independent charity Crimestoppers so this truly awful crime can be solved. You have nothing to fear by contacting Crimestoppers with information. We never ask for your
name or take any personal details. We do not trace your call or IP address and we do not record your call. You won’t have to give a statement, speak to the police or go to court – we only want to know what you know, not who you are. In the 24 years that Crimestoppers has been running we have never broken our promise of anonymity so nobody will know you contacted us. We will pass that information onto the police for you.”

Information is particularly wanted on a group of four young men who were outside the house in the early hours of 15 October. They are described as aged between 16 and 19 years old and wearing tracksuits and baseball caps. There were also two others on bikes. The first is described as 15 to 18 with ginger or light brown hair. He was wearing black jogging bottoms with stripes down the legs, a hip-length anorak style jacket with a hood and was riding a light coloured bike. The second was riding a black mountain bike, is described as 16 to 18 and was wearing a light grey top.

Detectives now believe there may have been a burglary at the home after the family had gone to bed and before the fire was discovered.

A laptop bag containing personal items belonging to Dr Shakoor was found abandoned near lock up garages in Whitewaits, Harlow, on Friday 26 October. It is thought that the laptop may have been stolen in the burglary. The black Toshiba laptop has a two pin connection that was used with an adaptor.

Enquiries have also revealed that during the evening of the fatal fire, there were two unsuccessful attempts to break into other properties in Harlow. How these incidents relate to the fire investigation is being considered.

Stuart Rawlins, volunteer chair of Essex Crimestoppers, commented: “If you feel unable to talk to Police there is a safe alternative in contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously. Has someone confessed to being involved? Did someone display unusual behaviour that night? Perhaps someone saw suspicious activity in the Barn Mead area around the time of the fire? Do you have information about one of the other burglaries? Have you or someone you know been offered a second hand laptop fitting the description of Dr Shakoor’s? Do you know who dumped the laptop bag close to Whitewaits?

"Crimestoppers wants to receive any information no matter how insignificant it may seem. Help bring the person(s) responsible for this despicable crime to justice.”

Rewards can only be claimed for information provided to Crimestoppers that leads to an arrest and conviction through our anonymous number 0800 555 111.

Alternatively, you can provide information by visiting the website and submitting a secure online form but rewards cannot be claimed this way.

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