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Update on fatal fire following BBC Crimewatch Programme

November 22, 2012, 1:19 pm

Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only survivor of the fire that killed his wife and children. Detectives from Operation Shakespeare are continuing to appeal for help from people in Harlow.

Det Supt Rob Vinson appeared on BBC programme Crimewatch last night to appeal for more information about the fatal fire in Barn Mead, Harlow on October 15. Detectives are now treating the deaths of Dr Usmani and her five children, aged between 3-12 as murder. Det Supt Vinson said: “This is an absolutely tragic case and an unprecedented investigation for Essex Police because of the scale of the loss.”

A number of calls were taken by officers following the programme and these are currently being evaluated and will be followed up over the next few days.

Detectives now know that there was a burglary at the family home on the night/morning of the fire. Scientists have reported that it is most likely that the fire was caused by malicious ignition.

Police made further appeals on the programme for information regarding the missing Toshiba Satellite laptop, discovery of the laptop bag and lead in St Michael Close area, and the car fire that was a short distance away from the Shakoor family home in Barn Mead, on the same morning.

Police still need to talk to everyone who was in the area on that morning, October 15 including a group of four teenagers, who were possibly wearing tracksuits and baseball caps, one significantly taller than the others, and two teenage boys who were on pedal bikes. Det Supt Vinson added: “If that was you, or if you know who they are, please come forward.”

Anyone with any information should contact Operation Shakespeare detectives on 0800 0560 944/01277 266869 or email

Or you can speak anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where you may be eligible for a reward of up to £10,000 for information.

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime

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