'Mistaken identity' claims over family home fire horror
A FAMILY murdered in a suspected revenge attack may have been the victims of mistaken identity, a neighbour has said.
Shehnila Taufiq, who was in her 40s, died along with her 19-year-old daughter and sons, aged 17 and 15, when their home was engulfed in flames early yesterday.
Mrs Taufiq's neurosurgeon husband, Mohammad Sattar, is believed to be en route home from Ireland where he works.
The mother and her children, named by the local mosque in Leicester as Zainab, Jamal and Bilal, died in their bedrooms at their terraced house in Wood Hill in the Spinney Hills area of the city several hours after a man was killed in nearby Kent Street.
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Police said they could not rule out a link between the two events and said they are investigating whether the fire had been intentionally started as a revenge attack.
But neighbours of the family reacted with disbelief to the idea that they could have been intentionally killed – and claimed they may not have been the intended target.
A middle-aged man, who did not want to be named, said: "I didn't know the family personally but I knew of them and they were a very nice family.
"Most people feel this was meant for somebody else and they got the wrong house.
"The family were very well-educated. He was a brain surgeon in Ireland and he brought his family over here to study Islamic literature.
"The lads were very pious and one of them was memorising the Koran and was on the ninth chapter."
Leicestershire Police have not confirmed the identities of the five victims.
As police appealed for information, Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister said officers were investigating a theory that Mrs Taufiq and her children were killed in revenge for the earlier attack.
He said: "These are obviously both very serious incidents and the investigations are in their very early stages to establish if there are any links between them.
"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."
The officer said neither the family nor the man who was killed were known to police.
A mosque attended by the Taufiq family issued a statement expressing shock at the deaths.
A spokesman for the Jame Mosque, about 100 yards from the family's home, said: "Four people residing at Wood Hill have tragically passed away in a house fire.
"This included Shehnila Taufiq, Zainab Taufiq and Jamal and Bilal Taufiq.
"The sons and daughters were aged between 15 and 20. The father was away in Ireland during the week working as a heart surgeon."
The family attended the mosque in Asfordby Street while Mrs Taufiq, Zainab and Bilal were also enrolled on its educational programme.
The spokesman added: "The members of our mosque, the staff and all of our colleagues are extremely shocked and are praying for them. We would also like to send our condolences to the father, Dr Taufiq, who, as you can imagine, would be going through a difficult time."
Mr Taufiq is a consultant neurosurgeon and has been working in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and private hospitals.. His family lived with him for a number of years before moving to Leicester.