10 years on, net spreads to Pakistan for Huddersfield ‘arsonist’ they let out on bail

Shahid Mohammed is wanted in connection with a devastating house fire that killed three generations of one family in Birkby, in Huddersfield
Shahid Mohammed is wanted in connection with a devastating house fire that killed three generations of one family in Birkby, in Huddersfield
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A NEW appeal has been launched by police to mark the 10th anniversary of a house fire in West Yorkshire that killed three generations of one family.

Detectives are appealing for information to find Shahid Mohammed, who is wanted in connection with the devastating blaze in Birkby, Huddersfield, in May 2002.

Seven members of the Chishti family - Muhammad Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, Nefeesa Aziz, 35, Tayyaba Batool, 13, Rabiah Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and six-month-old Najeeba Nawaz - died in the fire.

Another family member, Zaib-un-Nisa, 54, died in hospital a week later.

Police arrested Mr Mohammed during the initial phases of the murder investigation but he has not been seen since he was released on bail.

He was thought to have fled to Pakistan but is known to have strong links to people in London, Birmingham and Leicester, police said.

Three other men - Shakiel Shazad, Shaied Iqbal and Nasar Hussain - were convicted for their part in the crime in 2003.

Det Supt Sukhbir Singh, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “For a decade now the Chishti family have had to live with the fact that not every person connected to what happened in May 2002 has been brought to justice.

“The family have remained dignified throughout, but have had to live with the fact that so many lives were cut short by the fire. Babies should have grown up to be children, children into teenagers and teenagers into adults.

“This is not something that the police have ever been prepared to tolerate and we are as determined as ever to trace Shahid Mohammed.

“Ten years may have passed, but that is not a sign that we have given up on bringing the Chishti family the closure they deserve.

“I strongly believe that someone in the local community knows something about Shahid Mohammed that could help the Chishti family end their pain.

“I am appealing for that person to come forward and tell us what they know about Shahid Mohammed - a man involved in mass murder. They can also contact us anonymously, via Crimestoppers.”

Anyone with information should call Huddersfield Police or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Abdul Aziz Chisthi, described by police as “the head of the family”, said life is still a daily struggle.

The 68-year-old said: “This time of the year is particularly difficult and sad for the remaining members of our family. What makes it worse is knowing that one of the perpetrator’s is still on the run. We can’t have closure and move on until this man is caught and put in front of the courts.

“Life for the Chishti family is still a daily struggle and we would treasure the joy of being surrounded by our loved ones.

“On this 10th anniversary we would appeal to the community, particularly people who know Shahid Mohammed, to contact police with any information they have.”

Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “This was a horrific crime, and shocked the whole community. But while many people have moved on, for the family involved this crime is still all too real and shattering for them. I back the police calls for people who know anything to come forward, to bring the perpetrators to justice and to allow the family to grieve properly for their lost loved ones.”