Bolton arson attack: Police appeal for 'final' clue

Hameeda Begum (L) and Alana Mian (R)
Image caption The arson attack claimed the lives of Hameeda Begum and her granddaughter Alana Mian

Police investigating an arson attack which claimed the lives of a woman and her grand-daughter have appealed to people who hold "the final piece of information" about it to come forward.

Hameeda Begum, 71, and Alana Mian, four, were killed in the fire at Little Holme Walk in Bolton on 23 June 2008.

Alana's mother Saima was badly injured and firefighter Steve Morris suffered a catalogue of serious injuries.

Police launched a murder inquiry but have never charged anyone with murder.

Three people have been sentenced for witness intimidation in connection with the case.

Alana and her parents, who lived in Australia, had been visiting their family in Bolton when arsonists set a wheelie bin alight and pushed it against the front door.

Ms Begum died on the night of the fire, having suffered 90% burns. Her four-year-old grand-daughter died of multiple organ failure weeks later.

'Devastating effect'

Greater Manchester Police said they had interviewed a considerable number of witnesses and spoken to hundreds of people in the community.

"However, the final piece of information required to bring those responsible to justice remains elusive," a spokesman said.

A £50,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible has never been claimed.

Det Ch Insp Jon Chadwick, of the major incident team, said the fire had had a "devastating effect" on Ms Begum's family, the community and the emergency services.

"We remain determined to find those responsible for the death of Hameeda and Alana, but we have been frustrated by the lack of that one piece of information that clearly links whoever did this to the crime," he said.

'Piece of mind'

"We have spoken to dozens of witnesses and we firmly believe that a small minority are holding out on us.

"We believe some have not given us the full story, or at least everything they know, and I want to appeal to them directly to speak to us again.

"The only people likely to get into trouble are the perpetrators of the original offence - our priority is to bring the killers to justice to give some small piece of mind to the family."

He said the reward was a "life-changing amount of money", adding that allegiances can change over time.

"Now is the time to do the right thing," he said.

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