Shakoor tragedy: Harlow community to come together

News / Mon 14th Oct 2013 pm31 12:44pm


A MEMORIAL service will be held tomorrow to mark the one year anniversary of the fatal fire in Barn Mead. The emergency services, staff from Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), local school representatives, Harlow Islamic Centre, local community members and other organisations will be getting together at the Salvation Army Centre in Tendring Road to pay their respects and spend a moment in reflection to mark the sad anniversary of the fatal fire in Barn Mead, that occurred in the early hours of October 15, 2012.

It was one year ago that Dr Abdul Shakoor, a doctor working at PAH in Harlow, woke up to find his family home filled with choking thick black smoke and a fire raging in the lounge downstairs. He desperately fought to save his family but tragically his wife Sabah, 44, also a trained doctor, and his five children, Hira aged 12, sons Sohaib aged 11, Muneeb, aged 9, Rayyan aged 6 and youngest daughter Maheen who was just 3, all died, despite the efforts of the fire crews, police and hospital staff who fought to save them.

One year on Dr Shakoor finds strength from his faith and the support of the local community to continue working at PAH, helping other people. He will be in Pakistan to be with his mother, grandmother and other family member to give each other emotional support on what will be the most difficult of days.

Police continue to investigate the six deaths of the Shakoor family as murder and arson. Three men, all aged 19 have been arrested, questioned and released on police bail whilst enquires into what is the largest Essex Police murder investigation continue.

The cause of the fire is still subject to forensic investigation. It started in the lounge but the exact cause has not been identified yet.

Detectives know that a burglary took place at the house and a black Toshiba Satellite laptop was taken. This has not been recovered and police still need to find it. It was purchased abroad and would need an adapter to make it work in the UK.

Detectives and staff from Operation Shakespeare have taken around 1,500 statements, interviewed hundreds of people and taken over 3,000 items for examination.

Det Superintendent Rob Vinson, leading the investigation said: ‘I believe that someone within the Harlow community knows who is responsible for the burglary and arson. One year on I ask them to give serious thought to telling someone what they know. If they don’t want to speak to police they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where they can give information anonymously. The Crimestoppers charity is still offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to a conviction. Or I appeal for you to speak to someone you trust and get them to pass on that information.’

‘Dr Shakoor is a private, dignified man who has had to cope with the most unimaginable tragedy of losing his entire family. He is suffering every day and for his sake I urge you to make contact.’

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