A murder inquiry was launched yesterday after a mother and her four children died in a house blaze.
Caneze Riaz, aged 39, and four of her daughters, aged between 16 and three, perished in the early hours blaze at their terrace home in Accrington, Lancashire. Her husband Mohammed Riaz was pulled from the house and is fighting for his life in hospital.
Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell, heading the inquiry, told a news conference that accelerants had been used to start several seats of fire. And he said whoever set fire to the house did not leave the building.
Det Supt Gradwell said police officers were waiting to speak to Mr Riaz at his bedside in Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester where he is said to be in a "critical condition".
His daughters Sayrah, 16, Sophia, 15, Alicia, ten, and Hannah, three, all died in the fire.
The couple’s only son, Adam, 17, is seriously ill in the Christie Hospital in Manchester where he is being treated for leukaemia. He has been told of the tragedy.
Det Supt Gradwell said: "Already it’s clear there were several seats of fire at the house and accelerants have been used. The cause of the fire is therefore deliberate.
"The house was secured and locked from the inside. Early indications are that whoever set the fire, and carried out some other suspicious activity I can’t go into at this stage, did not leave the premises.
"However, I can’t discount that a scene has been staged to suggest this."
He said it was a "top line of inquiry" to speak to Mr Riaz "to try to speak to someone at the house at the time".
He added: "It is a murder inquiry because the fire was set deliberately with accelerants used. This is a deliberate fire and there is no evidence that anybody left that house. The indications are it is contained within that family."
Police revealed the dead were all found in their beds. Detectives say they were building up a picture of the family, who were very well thought of within the community.