New appeal over arson fugitive

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Six-year anniversary of Birkby arson horror

SIX years on from an arson attack on a house which claimed the lives of eight members of one family, police have launched a new appeal to trace a man wanted in connection with the attack.

Detectives believe Shahid Mohammed fled to Pakistan after failing to answer bail following an arson attack on a house in Birkby.

Muhammad Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, Nefessa Aziz, 35, Tayyaba Batool, 13, Rabia Batool, 10, Ateeqa Nawaz, 5, Aneesa Nawaz, 2, and 6 month old Najeeba Nawaz all died in the fire in Osborne Road, Birkby, in the early hours of Sunday May 12th, 2002.

Zaib-un-Nisa aged 54 died in hospital a week later.

Mohammed, now 25, was arrested in the initial phases of the murder investigation. He was detained by police as a result of extensions from court before being released on police bail pending further enquiries.

He never answered that bail and has not been seen since.

Today police appealed for information urging friends and associates of Mohammed to tell them where he is.

Detective Chief Inspector John Halstead, who is leading the investigation, said:

“Six years on, West Yorkshire Police are continuing to actively trace Shahid Mohammed working with national and international law enforcement agencies. Information suggests that he has been living outside of the UK, particularly in Pakistan.

“It is known that he has strong links with Pakistan but also in the UK, he has links with London, Birmingham, and Leicester. West Yorkshire Police, via the family liaison officers have regular contact with the Chisti family who can not draw a line to these tragic circumstances when Shahid Mohammed is still at large.

“People may have protected or assisted Shahid in evading arrest and I specifically want to appeal to friends and associates of Shahid Mohammed to examine their conscience and to give information as to his whereabouts.

“Any information provided might corroborate other pieces that the investigation has, which might progress Shahid’s arrest”

In July 2003, at Leeds Crown Court, Shaied Iqbal, 26, of Springdale Road, Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield, was found guilty of eight murders and jailed for life.

Shakiel Shazad, 23, of Gledholt Road, Gledholt, and Nazar Hussain, 24, of Dryclough Road, Crosland Moor, both Huddersfield, were each convicted of manslaughter and given concurrent 18-year sentences.

Anyone with any information should call Huddersfield Police Help Desk on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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