Nine Years on the Run: Police vow to catch Arson suspect

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New appeal in arson murder which claimed eight members of same family

FOR nine years members of the Chisti family have had to endure the torment of knowing one man has avoided justice for his part in a brutal arson attack which claimed the lives of eight members of their family.

In the early hours of May 12, 2002 a devastating fire ripped through their family home on Osborne Road in Birkby, Huddersfield.

The fire claimed the lives of eight members of the Chisti family – the eldest aged 54, the youngest just six months old.

Today police have vowed they won’t rest until one man – Shahid Mohammed – is found and brought before the courts.

He was arrested by police and questioned in relation to the arson attack. But after being placed on police bail, Mohammed, 20 at the time, fled and has evaded capture since.

Detectives believe he fled to Pakistan but know he has links to people in London, Birmingham and Leicester. They now want communities across these cities to help them trace him.

In July, 2003, three Huddersfield men – Shakiel Shazad, Shaied Iqbal and Nasar Hussain were convicted for their part in the atrocious crime which left a family devastated.

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

The investigation has now become the largest multiple murder investigation carried out by West Yorkshire Police in nearly 30 years.

Detective Superintendent Sukhbir Singh of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, who is leading the investigation to find Mohammed, said the force will not stop until he is brought to justice.

“For nine years, the Chisti family have had to live with the fact that not every person responsible for what happened in May 2002 has been brought to justice,” he said.

“This fact is not something that we are prepared to ignore and we are as determined as ever to trace Shahid Mohammed and are again appealing for people with information on his whereabouts to come forward.

“Whilst he could be in Pakistan and was known to have strong links to people in London, Birmingham and Leicester, I believe that someone in the local community is holding onto information that could help us find him.

“No matter how small the information may be that person could hold the key to us finding Shahid Mohammed and helping give the Chisti family closure.”

Anyone who could further assist this investigation should call Huddersfield Police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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