Remembering the Shakoor family, nine years after their deaths

Crime / Fri 15th Oct 2021 at 06:20am

Update: On the ninth anniversary of the death of the Shakoor family, we just wanted to extend our sympathies.

Our thoughts go to Dr Shakoor and everyone touched by the tragic events.


Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only survivor of the fire which claimed the lives of his wife 44-year-old Dr Sabah Usmani and five children – daughters Hira, 12, and Maheen, three, and sons Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine and Rayyan, six.

The family were asleep at their terraced home in Barn Mead, Harlow at 1.40am on October 15, 2012 when the fire swept through the downstairs of the property. A silver Ford Focus was set alight at the same time.

The home was quickly engulfed by flames and smoke. Desperate to raise the alarm and get help for his family.

Dr Shakoor managed to jump from an upstairs window. Sadly the fire took hold and Dr Shakoor’s wife and children did not survive.

Detectives launched a murder investigation, called Operation Shakespeare, but to date they have been unable to bring those responsible for the fire to justice.

Senior investigating officer DCI Daniel Stoten said: “It is incomprehensible to imagine what Dr Shakoor has been through, both at the time with the shock and horror of losing his family and in the years since when, every day, he must think about the loved ones he has lost.

“Essex Police and I are no less committed to investigating this horrific crime. We need answers and justice for Dr Shakoor and his family.

“We know that someone, somewhere knows who was responsible for causing this fire and we would urge them, all these years on, to do the right thing and come forward to us.

“It cannot be a coincidence that on the same night in the same road a car was also set on fire. Do you know who did that, did you see anything suspicious?

“We have also never recovered the laptop. Do you recognise this, do you remember someone having this which would have been unusual?

“Over time loyalties change, if you knew something then but felt you couldn’t come forward to us, perhaps now things have changed. People can still come forward with information, if they don’t want to do that through Essex Police, they can do so 100% anonymously through Crimestoppers.”

To date more than 70 police officers and staff have worked on the investigation into the fire, nearly 500 people have given witness statements and 1,800 exhibits were collected and stored.

Detectives are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the following lines of enquiry:

*A white man aged in his late teens/early 20s on a bicycle seen in the area when the house and car were set alight. It is thought he could be a key witness.

*The family laptop, a black Toshiba Satellite, which was taken from the house in a burglary. This has not been located. Do you know where the laptop is or was?

*The laptop was fitted with a two-pin lead because it was bought in Saudi Arabia. The laptop bag and lead were later recovered near to the scene between Whitewaits and St Michael’s Close. Did you see these items being dumped or did you notice any suspicious activity in these areas at the time?

*Attached to the laptop lead was a shaver adapter plug. This did not belong to the Shakoor family which suggests someone tried to use the plug. Did you have a shaver plug missing from your home at the time?

*Do you know anything about the silver Ford Focus which was set alight?

*In November 2012 a person rang Harlow police station from a phone box and left a message about the fire. Are you that person? Please contact us.

*Also in November 2012 a piece of paper about the murder investigation was left on a shelf in Boots in Harlow. Did you leave that piece of paper? Please contact us.

If you have information please contact the Major Investigation Team at Brentwood on 101, email [email protected], visit our public portal page

https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4201020112H31-PO1 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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3 Comments for Remembering the Shakoor family, nine years after their deaths:

Paul Bellairs
2021-11-16 23:05:55

I think it is a disgraceful the murders have taken place in my town and nt solved

Paul Bellairs
2021-11-16 23:07:15

I think it is a disgraceful the murders have taken place in my town and not solved

Mr Smith
2022-06-25 02:40:11


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