Woman faces murder charge 10 years on from flat blaze

Have your say

A WOMAN is facing murder charges over the death of a city teenager killed in a fireraising attack at his family home more than a decade ago.

Shafquat Saleem was charged with the murder of Imran Saleem, 18, who was one of her close relatives, during an appearance at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Mr Saleem died after a blaze ripped through his third-floor flat in Barn Park, Wester Hailes, on June 14, 2001.

Shafquat Saleem, 38, was also charged with embezzlement in relation to thousands of pounds that allegedly went missing from the sub-post office in Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, where she had formerly been a postmistress.

Back in 2002, Lothian and Borders Police issued arrest warrants for three siblings over the murder of Mr Saleem, but the suspects were believed to have travelled overseas, perhaps to Pakistan where they were originally from.

Warrants remain outstanding for the arrest of Rafadh Saleem and Tanveer Saleem, who are Shafquat Saleem’s older sister and younger brother.

Police said that Shafquat Saleem, who formerly lived in Belmont Gardens, Corstorphine, was arrested after being detained by immigration while returning to the UK.

She was detained in April, but details of her arrest have only just emerged.

It is the first arrest police have made in the ten-year murder hunt.

Police forces around the world, as well as Interpol, had been alerted over the outstanding warrants.

Mr Saleem had been sleeping in an upstairs bedroom of the flat when petrol was poured through the letterbox and set alight.

The blaze ripped through the flat within seconds. Mohammed Saleem, 64, wife Safia, 52, and their daughter, Mussart, 24, holding her one-year-old baby, jumped to safety but the teenager was trapped in the upstairs bedroom.

Mr Saleem was treated with oxygen at the scene but later died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

His funeral took place at a city mosque a week later.

Around two weeks before the fatal fire, police and fire crews were called to the same address when the family’s Renault 25 car was destroyed in a petrol bomb attack.

Days before that, a bag of burning rubbish had been placed on the car’s bonnet.

A Crown Office spokesman said that Shafquat Saleem had appeared first at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on April 12 charged with murder and embezzlement.

She was released on bail and no future court dates have yet been set.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that a woman had been charged with the murder of Mr Saleem.

Rafadh Saleem’s estranged husband, Hafiz Musaddaq, previously told the Evening News in 2001 of his heartbreak after she vanished with the couple’s three-year-old twin sons, Zubair and Thamoor.

Mr Musaddaq, then 34, who was living in Craigmillar, had arranged to meet the boys at his wife’s home on the night of September 8, 2001.

But when he turned up to see them, he found that his wife, the boys and his wife’s brother and sister were gone.