Teenager charged with fire deaths

Police have charged a man in connection with a house fire which killed four people in Leicester

Police have charged a man in connection with a house fire which killed four people in Leicester

First published in National News © by

An 18-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with a house fire which killed four members of the same family.

Leicestershire Police said the Crown Prosecution Service had authorised them to charge the man in relation to a deadly house blaze in Wood Hill, Leicester, in the early hours of Friday, September 13. He will appear at Leicester Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The fire killed Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, her 19-year-old daughter Zainab and sons Bilal, 17, and Jamal, 15.

Steve Chappell, chief crown prosecutor at CPS East Midlands, said lawyers had decided there was sufficient evidence to charge and that it was in the public interest for a prosecution to take place.

He said: "It is important to note that proceedings are now active, and the accused is entitled to a fair trial. Nothing should be said or reported that would prejudice that right."

Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, of Leicestershire Police, said: "l would like to thank the people of Leicester for their support during this complex investigation and for coping so patiently with the disruption during this investigation and that of the murder of Antoin Akpom on Kent Street.

"As a chief officer with Leicestershire Police I will continue to oversee the investigation and the wider impact on people in the city but the day to day investigation will continue to be run by the senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell.

"People will be pleased to hear that, of course, the specialist support we have already provided to both of the victims' families will continue. We recognise how important it is for that support and it is actually normal practice for us to do that."

He added: "We do not believe at this moment that either the murder of Antoin Akpom or the murders on Wood Hill are racially motivated... Further appeals may well be made by the senior investigating officer and I would ask for the public to help by coming forward whenever they can and I would urge people who may have information and haven't come forward already to use Crimestoppers where they can report information anonymously."

Separately, Abdul Hakim, 19, of Wood Hill, Leicester, appeared at the city's magistrates court on Wednesday, charged with 20-year-old Mr Akpom's murder. Mr Akpom was found stabbed in Kent Street a few hours before the fatal blaze.

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