UK & World News
Leicester Fire: Police Probe 'Revenge Murders'
A mother and her three children have been found dead in a house fire in what may have been a revenge attack after a man was killed several hours earlier.
Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, died along with her 19-year-old daughter and sons aged 17 and 15 when their property was engulfed in flames.
Their bodies were found inside the bedrooms of the terraced home in the Spinney Hills area of Leicester just after 12.30am on Friday.
They died several hours after a man in his 20s was killed in Kent Street about half a mile away.
Officers were called to the scene of the assault at 5.30pm on Thursday and the victim was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where he died.
Police, who have begun two murder inquiries, said they could not rule out a link between the tragedies and were investigating whether the fire had been intentionally started as a revenge attack.
But neighbours of the family reacted with disbelief to the idea they could have been deliberately targeted - and claimed they may have been the victims of mistaken identity.
A middle-aged man, who did not want to be named, said: "Most people feel this was meant for somebody else and they got the wrong house."
Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister urged witnesses to get in touch and said it was possible both offences, which he described as "terrible, terrible crimes", were linked, citing the close locations and lack of time between them.
He said: "I can't confirm here and now it is a revenge attack - it may be, it may not be - but lines of inquiry will certainly get to the bottom of that."
Referring to neighbours talking about a "fire bombing", Mr Bannister said: "Fire bombing in my experience means different things to different people.
"We are working really closely with the fire brigade. Exactly how the fire started, where it started and of course who is responsible is something we will get to the bottom of."
The children were named by the local mosque as Zainab, Jamal and Bilal.
Mrs Taufiq's husband, Dr Muhammad Taufiq al Sattar, is believed to be heading home from Ireland where he works at a hospital as a consultant neurosurgeon.
Neighbours spoke of flames shooting out of the house which was gutted in the blaze.
Mr Bannister said neither the family nor the man who was killed were known to police.
The force has drafted in extra officers and forensics staff to investigate both crimes and increased patrols in the area.
Officers are working to trace a man who also lived in the property.
Among friends and neighbours who paid tribute at the scene was teacher Mohammed Qasim Manjra.
Mr Manjra, who taught Jamal history at a nearby independent Islamic school, said: "He was a very sociable kid and we are very sad that he has gone."
Leicester-based Imam Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, also visited the scene.
He told reporters: "I did not know them personally but from what people have told me they were a very religious family, very humble, very modest and very generous.
"The mother was a scholar herself and clearly they were a family that was into religion and education and were held in very high esteem by the local community."
Local store-keeper Sattar Raidhan, who has lived in the area for 35 years, said: "I believe the husband worked as a doctor in Ireland and he came home every weekend to see his family. I can't even imagine how this would happen to a family like that."