A man whose wife and young daughters, aged three and one, were killed in a house fire has described their deaths as a “cruel crime against my family”.
Aboubacarr Drammeh, 40, paid tribute to wife Fatoumatta Hydara and their daughters Fatimah and Naeemah Drammeh in a statement released through Nottinghamshire Police.
Ms Hydara, 28, was placed on a life support machine but died on Tuesday, two days after the fire engulfed her flat in Fairisle Close, Clifton, Nottingham.
Police said a joint investigation with the fire service found Sunday’s blaze was started deliberately and officers are continuing to question a 31-year-old local man as part of the triple murder inquiry.
Nottinghamshire Police also said there was nothing to indicate the attack was a “hate crime”, and detectives will be applying to extend the time they have to quiz the man currently in custody.
Mr Drammeh, who flew back from the US after the fire, said: “It is with great sadness that we have lost Fatoumatta and our two daughters in such a tragic way.
“Fatoumatta had lived a short but a very beautiful and fulfilling life. A former voluntary worker, Fatoumatta was a very happy, bubbly woman who wouldn’t have the heart to hurt a fly.
“It is therefore inconceivable to think who might have committed this cruel crime against my family.
“We thank the Ahmadi Muslim community in Nottinghamshire, the Gambian community, the local neighbours and all those well-wishers for their continuous support in this difficult time.
“I and my in-laws are left without any daughters, grandchildren and nieces. I will deeply miss my family.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Sinski, leading the investigation, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has come forward with information so far to aid our ongoing investigation.
“This is very much an active investigation though, so I’d ask anyone who has any footage from the surrounding area they haven’t sent to us yet or has any information that could assist our inquiries to please get in touch.
“No words can describe the pain the family of the victims are all feeling right now and we are doing everything possible to get them the justice they deserve.”
Inspector Karl Thomas, Clifton policing commander, said officers will “work long days and nights to bring the family the justice they deserve”, following a crime which had “rocked the community”.
He added: “We are keeping an open mind but at this stage there is nothing to indicate this is a hate crime.
“At the moment we have until this evening to question the male we have in custody, and we will be making a further application to extend this period further.”
Police are still appealing for information and are especially keen to speak to anyone on the streets in the area between midnight and 4.30am on Sunday.