The family of Joel Urhie, the seven-year-old arson victim from Deptford, has joined the police in a public appeal for information to find the individuals responsible for setting fire to his family home.
Joel Urhie tragically died as a result of the deliberate attack on his Adolphus Street house, where he lived with his mother and older sister Sarah, 20. The fire broke out shortly before 3:30 am on Tuesday, August 7. His mother and sister managed to escape by jumping out of the first-floor windows.
The family held a tribute for him on September 17, which was attended by members of the public and the police.
Joel’s cousin Teja Majoroh, 18, attended the tribute and recollected spending a lot of time with the little boy and frequently staying with the family at the house targeted.
“Joel has been gone for a while now, but it seems like just yesterday he was taken from us. He brought so much light to the family without even knowing it. His death has been a tragedy to us all. His absence has caused a huge sense of loss. As young as he was, he meant so much to so many”, Teja said.
She added that she was ‘blessed’ to have spent so much time with Joel and paid touching tribute to the first time she met him.
“As someone who’s lost a brother and for the sake of his mother and sister, we are appealing to anyone who has a heart and has any knowledge of what happened to call the police and give any information they have.”
Joel’s body was found by emergency services who attended the scene in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his mother. A post mortem conducted at St Thomas’ hospital on Wednesday, 8 August found his injuries to have been consistent with fire and smoke inhalation.
Joel’s mother Iroroefe Urhie, 49, who spent a month in hospital recovering after being badly injured in the escape from the burning house, joined Tega in paying tribute to her son.
A spokesperson from Joel’s school, Tidemill Academy, where he was due to start Year Three this September, also added their condolences: “We were deeply saddened by the news of Joel’s death. He was a kind, happy and smiley boy who loved running around and playing with his friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this extremely difficult time.”
Detectives from the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command have been working hard to establish the circumstances of the fire since it took place just over six weeks ago.
Detective Inspector Alison Cole, from the investigation team, said: “This horrific incident has left a family shattered and the tragic loss of such a young life in these circumstances has deeply affected the whole wider community in Deptford.
“We are very grateful that Joel’s family whilst still grieving have been willing to come together with us today to strengthen our fresh appeal to the public for any witnesses, or any information, that might possibly assist us. We desperately need your help to bring those responsible to justice.”
Anyone with information should contact the dedicated incident room on 020 8345 3715 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.