Blaze-deaths probe focuses on burglary

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Police have said that the home where a mother and her five children were killed by a fire was burgled on the night of the tragedy.

Sabah Usmani and her sons Sohaib, 11, and Rayyan, six, and daughter Hira, 13, died in Barn Mead, Harlow, Essex, on October 15, with a third son, Muneeb, nine, and daughter Maheen, three, dying later in hospital.

Essex Police said yesterday they believe there was a burglary at the property on the night of the fire in which a laptop belonging to the children’s father and the only member of the family to survive the fire, Abdul Shakoor, was stolen.

Det Supt Rob Vinson said he was seeking to speak to a teenage boy and young girl who were seen throwing a laptop bag away near the family home.

Mr Vinson, the senior investigating officer on the case, said: “Recent developments have moved the investigation forward in a number of directions and we now believe that there was a burglary at Dr Shakoor’s house.

“We believe that this burglary took place after the family had gone to bed and before the fire was discovered.”