- Two men held on suspicion of murder
- It is believed the arrested men knew the victims
Last updated at 2:26 PM on 11th September 2011
A young mum and her 15-month-old son died when a fire ripped through a a house in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Melissa Crook, 20, and her 15-month-old son Noah were killed in the suspected arson attack on her parents’ home, in Chatham, Kent.
Detectives have arrested two men on suspicion of murder in Coventry, one of whom is believed to be 23-year-old Danai Muhammadi, Ms Crook’s estranged husband. A 37-year-old man was also arrested.
Arson: Melissa Crook and Danai Muhammadi on their wedding day. Muhammadi is believed to have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Ms Crook’s father Mark, 49, suffered from serious burns and is fighting for his life following the suspected arson attack.
His son Bohdan, 21, broke both his legs as he was forced to leap from a first floor window to escape the inferno. Melissa’s mum Amanda was also being treated in hospital for burns.
Firefighters outside the house in Chatham, Kent, where the fire took hold in the early hours of Saturday
Smashed windows show the frantic efforts made to save the 22-year-old woman and her 15-month-old child
Melissa and her son were thought to be staying at her parents’ house after walking out of her marital home in Coventry.
The blaze was so fierce it caused the mother and baby’s bedroom to cave in at the terrace home. It is thought that Melissa and her dad were trapped in the front bedroom along with baby Noah when ceiling collapsed.
Emergency services were called to the fire at the house at 2.30am yesterday.
The Medway towns have seen a series of arson attacks in the past month, and officers are investigating the possibility of a link.
Kent police Chief Superintendent Neil Jerome said yesterday: ‘‘Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who have been involved in this very tragic fire, and I would appeal to anybody who was in the Chatham Hill area of Chatham at half past two this morning who has seen anything suspicious, or anything that is connected with this particular tragic incident to make contact with Kent Police.’
Blaze: The fire ripped through the house belonging to Melissa Crook’s parents
The Medway area of the county saw a series of arson attacks last month, and officers are investigating the possibility of a link with the other fires, a Kent Police spokeswoman said.
Ch Supt Jerome stressed that at this early stage there was no concrete evidence of a connection.
Andy Merriman from Kent Fire and Rescue said firefighters had to fight their way past a serious blaze to get in to the property.
‘Crews were confronted by an extreme fire early in the morning,’ he said.
‘The incident was a very serious incident in which our crews managed to fight their way in to prevent further spread to adjoining properties. But tragically two people have died.”
The previous arson attacks, which happened in a four-day period, targeted a number of properties including a derelict house in Vicarage Road, Strood, a disused restaurant in Rochester High Street, flats in Fort Pitt Street, Chatham, and derelict Market Cafe in Corporation Street, Rochester.
No-one was injured in these incidents.