Leeds & West Yorkshire

Birkby 2002 fire suspect Shahid Mohammed held in Pakistan

Police release new image of Shahid Mohammed Image copyright other
Image caption In an earlier appeal, police released the most recent picture of Shahid Mohammed

A man who has been on the run for more than 12 years following a house fire that killed eight members of the same family has been arrested in Pakistan.

Detectives have been hunting Shahid Mohammed, 32, since he failed to answer bail in 2002.

Police said he was arrested on 22 January and judicial proceedings were now under way to return him to the UK.

Five young sisters, their mother, uncle and grandmother, died in the fire in Birkby, Huddersfield in 2002.

Police said his re-arrest came after close work between authorities in the UK and those abroad.

Det Supt Lisa Griffin, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We have informed members of the Chisti family of the latest development in the case and will continue to keep them informed throughout.

"Operation Elvington has clearly been a major and long-running inquiry and I thank residents who have come forward with information over the years for their support.

"We remain utterly focused on working with the UK Foreign Office and authorities in the nation in which the 32-year-old is currently being held to bring him back to the UK to be put before a court."

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said he hoped the latest development would bring "justice for the family".

Image caption Five young sisters, their mother, uncle and grandmother, died in the fire in Birkby

He said: "I am pleased and relieved for the family that this has finally happened.

"It is down to the hard work, determination and great detective work of the officers who, throughout this case, have done their best to find him."

The victims were Nafeesa Aziz, 35, and her five daughters - Tayyaba Batool, three, Rabiah Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, five, Aneesa Nawaz, two, and Najeeba Nawaz, who was six months old.

Nafeesa Aziz's brother, Mohammed Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, also died in the fire and their mother, Zaib-un-Nisa, 54, died a week later in hospital after jumping from an upstairs window of the house on Osbourne Road.

In July 2003, three Huddersfield men, Shaied Iqbal, Shakiel Shazad Amir, and Nazar Hussain, were convicted for their part in the crime.

Hussain has since been released on parole.

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