Essex

Harlow fire deaths: School benches in honour of Shakoor family

Abbotsweld Primary School, Harlow, Essex
Image caption Dr Abdul Shakoor, father of the five children, cuts the ribbon on the benches

The father of five children killed in a house fire along with their mother, has unveiled benches in their memory at their former school.

Sabah Usmani, her three sons and two daughters, died in an attack on their Harlow home last October.

Five benches, covered by a canopy representing their mother, have been installed at Abbotsweld Primary School where the boys attended.

Dr Abdul Shakoor, who cut the ribbon, survived the blaze.

The fire in Barn Mead tore through the house while Dr Shakoor, his wife and their children Muneeb, nine, Rayyan, six, Hira, 12, Sohaib, 11, and Maheen, three, were asleep.

Dr Shakoor jumped from a bedroom window in an attempt to get help, but he was unable to save any of his family.

'Great tribute'

Image caption Police are treating the deaths of the five children and their mother as murder

His brother, Talhha Usmani was at the unveiling ceremony.

He said he was "especially thankful" to the school community for the memorial benches.

"It is a long lasting memorial, it is a great tribute to my family members who passed away."

At next door Abbotsweld Infants School, the playground has been renovated in memory of Maheen.

More than £26,000 was raised for the project.

Police believe the fire was started deliberately by burglars.

A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the case and is currently on police bail until 7 August pending further inquiries.

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