Manhunt underway after woman and her three children found dead

Monday, August 21, 2006

A woman and her three children, aged five to 11, have been found dead in their home in Cheadle Hulme in Greater Manchester, prompting a murder investigation by police.

Officers were summoned to the scene on Turves Road last night after neighbours became concerned about the well being of the house's inhabitants. Greater Manchester Police had to break into the house, and when they got in, they discovered four bodies which had been there for some time.

In a press conference this afternoon, Greater Manchester Police said that they want to trace Rheman Arshad, a thirty six year-old male who was living with the four victims in the house. Detective Superintendent Martin Bottomley said: "We are keen to trace the fifth occupant of the house, Mr Arshad. We are concerned for his welfare. We are treating it as a murder inquiry, therefore we need to speak to him. There are a number of strands to the inquiry but the most immediate one is to trace the whereabouts of Mr Arshad."

He has been missing for four weeks, and Mr Bottomley have asked him or anybody who has seen him to contact them. "We have alerted every police force in the country. We want to speak to him in relation to the horrendous events in the house. We are liaising with forces abroad." Mr Arshad, a local taxi driver, may be driving a BMW 320 series sports coupe.

Mr Bottomley said the cause of death is not yet known. He also said that post-mortem examinations are yet to take place. "The bodies may have been lying there for up to four weeks and you can imagine in the hot weather we have been faced with a devastating scene."

This morning, a spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: "A murder investigation has been launched after four bodies were discovered in Cheadle Hulme. Police were called to the address and officers attended and forced entry. They discovered four bodies, believed to be a woman and three children. It is believed the bodies may have been there for some time."

Winifred Lomax, a seventy four year-old retired shop worker who lives on Turves Road, said: "They had not been seen for a few weeks and someone looked through their letterbox and there was a nasty smell."

This afternoon, an eyewitness told Wikinews what she saw: "I walked past the scene earlier today, and the terrace house was surrounded with tape. Several officers in white forensic suits were examining the barricaded area and a huge white tent was erected in front of the house's front door."

The woman and her children are thought to be Asian.