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Police renew murder appeal five
FIVE years on from a fire which killed
six members of the same family, detectives are
continuing to appeal for the public’s help in
solving the case.
Dr Abdul Shakoor was the only survivor of the
fire which claimed the lives of his wife Dr
Sabah Usmani,44, and five children - daughters
Hira, 12, and Maheen, three, and sons Sohaib,
11, Muneeb, nine and Rayyan, six.
The family were asleep at their terraced home in
Barn Mead, Harlow, at 1.40am on October 15,
2012, when the fire swept through the
A silver Ford Focus was set alight at the same
The home was quickly engulfed by flames and
smoke. Desperate to raise the alarm and get help
for his family, Dr Shakoor managed to jump from
an upstairs window.
The fire took hold and Dr Shakoor’s wife and
children did not survive.
Detectives launched a murder investigation,
called Operation Shakespeare, but to date they
have been unable to bring those responsible for
the fire to justice.
Five years on police, supported by Dr Shakoor,
are continuing to appeal for anyone with
information to come forward.
Dr Shakoor said: "Every day I think about
my wife and children, the pain has never gone
away. It is impossible to put in to words the
pain and grief I have endured at the loss of my
"I will never understand why somebody did
this and I live in hope that someday someone may
come forward with information. If you do know
anything, please contact Essex
Senior investigating officer DCI Stephen
Jennings, who is now leading the investigation,
said: "No-one will ever be able to imagine
the trauma, horror and grief that Dr Shakoor has
"Five years on and we are still committed
to solving this murder investigation and
securing justice for Dr Shakoor and his
"We know the answer to this investigation
lies within the community of Harlow. Five years
on and loyalties that once existed may have
"If you do know anything about the events
of that night and who was responsible please,
for the sake of Dr Shakoor and his family, do
the right thing and come forward."
The murder investigation has been one of the
most difficult and challenging carried out by
To date more than 70 police officers and staff
have worked on the case, nearly 500 people have
given witness statements and 1,800 exhibits were
collected and stored.
Detectives are continuing to appeal for
information in relation to the following lines
* A white man aged in his late teens/early 20s
on a bicycle seen in the area when the house and
car were set alight. It is thought he could be a
* The family laptop, a black Toshiba Satellite,
which was taken from the house in a burglary.
This has not been located. Do you know where the
laptop is or was?
* The laptop was fitted with a two-pin lead
because it was bought in Saudi Arabia. The
laptop bag and lead were later recovered near to
the scene between Whitewaits and St Michael’s
Close. Did you see these items being dumped or
did you notice any suspicious activity in these
areas at the time?
* Attached to the laptop lead was a shaver
adapter plug. This did not belong to the Shakoor
family which suggests someone tried to use the
plug. Did you have a shaver plug missing from
your home at the time?
* Do you know anything about the silver Ford
Focus which was set alight?
* In November 2012 a person rang Harlow Police
Station from a phone box and left a message
about the fire. Are you that person?
* Also in November 2012 a piece of paper about
the murder investigation was left on a shelf in
Boots in Harlow. Did you leave it?
Anyone with any information is asked to ring the
Major Investigation Team at Brentwood on 101,
or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555
Police make arrest over rape of man
AN arrest has been made in connection
with the rape of a man in Harlow.
Police were called by ambulance staff to School
Lane at about 6.45am on Sunday with concerns for
a man’s welfare.
He was reported to be suffering from breathing
difficulties and was taken to hospital.
He also had a minor head injury.
Following the incident, a rape investigation has
The victim has been safeguarded by specialist
Detective Inspector Rob Staples said: "We
are exploring a number of lines of enquiry and
would like to hear from anyone who was in the
vicinity of Harlow Town Park between 5am and 7am
on Sunday morning.
"We’d especially like to hear from anyone
who may have been near to the junction of School
Lane with Park Lane."
A 35-year-old Harlow man has been arrested on
suspicion of rape and released under
investigation. Enquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to ring the
Adult Sexual Abuse Investigation Team at Grays
on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555
Hospice golf day raises £110,000
HOUSEBUILDER Weston Homes plc, a long-term partner of St
Clare Hospice, raised a record
£110,000 for the charity at its
23rd annual golf day.
The Uttlesford-based developer
has been running the event for
the hospice for two decades
raising well over £1m for the
Golfers enjoyed breakfast at
Stoke by Nayland Golf and Spa
Hotel followed by golf and a
dinner with entertainment.
The event ended with an auction
with 'lots' including holidays
and golf breaks.
Weston Homes chairman Bob Weston
said: "Both myself and the
whole team at Weston Homes are
proud to host this fun annual
event for an exceptional
"We have a long-standing
and mutually beneficial
partnership with the hospice
dating back two decades. The
work of St Clare is immeasurably
important across Essex and we
believe it is imperative, as a
local business who operates in
the same community as the
hospice, to lend our support so
that their care can continue.”
St Clare chief executive Sarah
Thompson said: "We are
indebted to Weston Homes for
their commitment to our
partnership and I am so
delighted by the continued
success of this incredible
golfing fundraiser for St
"It is incredible that
their financial contribution
over the years now amounts to
more than £1m - not to mention
the generous support they gave
in building our new office
facility last year.
"It is only with the
dedicated help of loyal partners
like Weston Homes that we are
able to sustain and grow our
services to ensure we can
continue to be there for local
people, now and in the years
New school structure hailed a
A NEW school structure which sees
students gaining GCSEs from the age of 13 has
been hailed a success.
The Burnt Mill Academy Trust launched the new
curriculum three years ago which saw Year 9 and
10 students at Burnt Mill Academy take GCSE
courses and exams early.
Students study two complete GCSE courses in one
year rather than the traditional three years,
and enter Year 11 having already banked four
The radical overhaul saw upper school lessons
extended from 60 minutes to 100 minutes, with
students devoting two whole days each week to
their two GCSE options.
The move means Year 11 students can focus more
of their time and energy into the core subjects
of English, maths and science.
It also enables them to take a range of subjects
without having to drop a core subject for one
they may prefer, such as dance or
Deputy head Dee Conlon said: "Traditionally
children take their options in Year 9 and they
are set in stone for the three years
"That can mean being stuck with options
they chose at the age of 13 when they are 16,
even if their plans for the future have
"Also, they may no longer want to take
lessons in dance, for example, but they have no
choice as it is part of the curriculum.
"Our students get to make their choices
each year for the year ahead so it stays more
relevant as they grow older.
"For two days each week they only have
their options lessons; what better as a child
than spending all day focusing on what you love.
"The children absolutely love it and, as a
teacher, the 100-minute lessons mean you can
really get stuck in to a topic and have the time
to make sure every single child is making
progress - if not, you have the time to
Students are assessed regularly and are advised
to leave subjects which require high levels of
literacy to the later years to allow for further
Year 7 and 8 continue with the traditional
lesson structure because younger students
benefit from the shorter sessions, while early
interventions mean all students are expected to
reach their absolute potential when they sit
their GCSE exams from Year 9.
Pedestrian dies after motorbike
8.58am - 5th
A MAN has died after he was in collision
with a motorbike in Harlow.
A blue and white Suzuki motorbike was in
collision with an 82-year-old man in Cambridge
Road, near Harlow Mill, at about 4.35pm on
The pedestrian was taken to hospital but died a
few hours later.
A 29-year-old man, from London, has been
arrested on suspicion of causing death by
Anyone who saw a blue and white motorbike on
Cambridge Road between 4pm and 4.40pm, or who
has dash cam footage of the bike or the
collision, is asked to contact the Serious
Collision Investigation Unit on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Crackdown on anti-social behaviour
5.45pm - 3rd
ACTION to tackle anti-social behaviour in
Harlow town centre will continue following the
success of a dispersal order.
The order was in place between 10pm on Saturday
and 6am on Sunday.
A 16-year-old boy was issued with a dispersal
order notice while a 20-year-old woman was
arrested in connection with a public order
offence and an assault which took place in the
same area on September 15.
She was questioned and has since been released
Inspector Tony Walker, from the Harlow Community
Policing Team, said: "I’m pleased with
the success of the dispersal notice.
"Reports of crime and disorder were down
and we had positive comments from local
residents and business owners.
"The dispersal order is a temporary measure
and we will consider using it again in
"In the longer term though, the Community
Policing Team has a 12-week plan in place to
address crime and anti-social behaviour in the
town centre and this will continue until the end
"This plan will see an increase in foot
patrols throughout the day and night, as well as
other tactics, to make the Town Centre an even
Seaside trip for geography students
4.57pm - 2nd
YEAR 10 and 11 students at Burnt Mill
Academy visited Southend as part of their GCSE
The visit enabled the students to carry out
real-life coastal investigations to support
Head of Geography Kayleigh Trainor said:
"Students were using geographical
techniques to assess the impacts of coastal
erosion and coastal management on the local
"Students will use this information in the
exam for the fieldwork section.
"Building on this in the new year, students
will spend a day in London for their urban study
assessing the variations in quality of
"Students really enjoyed the day, putting
into practice what we have been discussing in
"It was particularly warming when members
of the public went out of their way to comment
on how well behaved the students were for such a
Man jailed over burglaries
4.21pm - 1st
A MAN who committed two burglaries - in
Old Harlow and Matching Green - having been
released on licence from prison has been jailed
for three years.
Steven Clark, 20, of no fixed address, was
sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court after
pleading guilty to the offences on Friday,
Police received a call at 4.20pm
on Sunday, July 16, about a burglary in progress
at a property off Hobbs Cross Road, Old
The victim returned home to find a blue Vauxhall
Vectra sounding its horn and his garage door
A neighbour noticed the suspicious behaviour and
parked his car in front of the vehicle while the
victim looked inside his home to find a messy
search had been carried out, windows smashed and
The suspicious car then sped off, crashed and
the suspects ran off.
Police found that tape had been used to change
the number plate details and inside the car was
a stolen jewellery box and jewellery.
A further burglary was reported at about 5.40pm
the same day.
A woman living off High Laver Road, Matching
Green, discovered she had been burgled after
returning home from work. The victim’s door
window was smashed, a messy search had been
carried out and a jewellery box and contents had
A witness reported seeing a blue Vauxhall Vectra
driving away from the area in suspicious
circumstances. The jewellery box and items of
jewellery recovered from the abandoned Vauxhall
Vectra were positively identified and returned
to the owner.
Police established that the vehicle had been
purchased earlier that day and linked the mobile
telephone number used to purchase the vehicle to
Further analysis of the call data provided
evidence linking the phone to the relevant areas
for the offences.
Clark was arrested on Monday, July 31.
Investigating officer DC James Smith, of Harlow
CID, said: “Clark is a prolific offender who
was released from prison on licence when he
committed these crimes. "He showed no
regard for his victim’s homes and property.
"As well as the theft of personal items
there was also extensive damage caused.
"Clearly he has not changed his ways
following a spell in prison and I believe our
communities are safer with him locked in a
NCS students support hospice
4.18pm - 1st
A NUMBER of Harlow College students who
are enrolled on the
National Citizen Service programme for 15-17
year olds raised £1,455.31 for St Clare
Three groups of young people
raised the money through a variety of
fundraising efforts such as bag packing in
supermarkets, car washing and a sponsored
St Clare community fundraising administrator
Rachel Lines, who assisted in co-ordinating the
groups, said: "It’s an honour that three
individual groups of young people enrolled on
the NCS programme wanted to raise money for St
"Their hard work has amounted to almost
£1,500 in vital funding which is enough to pay
for nearly two weeks of physiotherapy for our
patients, either at the hospice or in their own
"It is inspiring to see young people taking
action in their communities to help to make a
difference to real, local people and improve the
lives of those who are in need of support.
"It is the generosity and commitment of our
local supporters that enables St Clare to
continue our life-changing work for hundreds of
"We want to say a huge thank you to these
wonderful students, and wish them the best of
luck in their future endeavours."
NCS is a four-week, voluntary-based UK
Government personal and social development
programme for young people.