Case: Boy killed in house fire: Joel Urhie
Joel Urhie
Case unsolved
Status: Unsolved
Categories: Child Killings (3 to 12...
Case synopsis:

Seven-year-old Joel Urhie died after a suspected arson attack on his home on 7 August 2018.

Firefighters were called to the house in Adolphus Street, Deptford, at around 3.25am.

Joel's body was found in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his mother Irorefe Urhie, 49.

His mother and sister Sarah, 20, managed to escape by jumping from first floor windows and were taken to hospital for treatment.

Detectives launched a murder investigation later the same day after the fire was deemed suspicious.

A post-mortem found Joel's death was consistent with fire and smoke inhalation.

On 11 August two men aged 21 and 29 were arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life before being released.

Detectives continue to appeal for witnesses and information.

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.

"Did you see anything suspicious in or around Adolphus Street on Tuesday 7 August in the hours prior to the attack, or have you heard anything about how it might have started.

"Even the smallest piece of information could help us at this stage so I would urge you please to contact the incident room without delay. If you do not want to talk to police you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously.

"This devastating fire claimed the life of an innocent child, a loss his family will never get over, and we desperately need your help to bring those responsible to justice."

Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0208 345 3715 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Joel's mother, who spent a month in hospital after being badly injured in her escape from the house, said: her son was "the sweetest most caring little boy you could ever meet."

"He was so intelligent and always curious to learn new things. He never complained about anything.

"Joel always wanted people around him - that was why we used to go to the park a lot so that he could make new friends. His smile and laugh would light up a room and he was so full of life and energy."

Joel's cousin Tega Majoroh, an 18 year-old youth worker who is studying economics at university, said: "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 too so many.

"He was more my little brother than my little cousin. I remember when he was three and couldn’t say my name for ages. I would come to the house and say ‘Hi Joel.’ He'd say ‘Hi Tera’ and run to me with so much happiness.

"Joel was like the sunshine after rain. Coming home to him was like a breath of fresh air. He was always happy and always made others around him happy. There are so many memories that I will always treasure - and there will always be a hole in our hearts where his memory will lie.

"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."

Seven year-old Joel Urhie and his mother Iroroefe

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