By Calum Fraser
The grieving family of a seven-year-old who was murdered in an arson attack have pleaded with the public to help them catch the killers.
Joel Urhie, who lived in Deptford with his mother and older sister Sarah, died when their home in Adolphus Street was targeted by arsonists at around 3.30am on Tuesday, August 7.
Joel’s mother, who is still in hospital after jumping from the first floor of the house to escape the blaze, paid tribute to her son.
Iroroefe Urhie said: “Joel 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’s brother Samuel Urhie, 21, had recently been released after being jailed in 2016 for drug-dealing offences.
He was then sent back to prison less than a week after the arson attack.
Iroroefe, 49, who spent a month recovering after being badly injured in the escape from the burning house, said: “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.”
Tega Majoroh, 18, who was Joel’s cousin, spent a lot of time with the little boy and often stayed with the family at the
house, pleaded with the public to help them find the killers.
She said: “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.”
Two men, aged 21 and 29, were arrested on August 11 in connection with the incident. But they were later released on bail.
Tega said that she was blessed to have spent so much time with Joel.
The student, who is about to begin an economics degree at university and has also been a youth worker, 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 to so many.
“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 that I will always treasure – and there will always be a hole in our hearts where his memory will lie.
“He was more of my little brother than my little cousin. I remember we met when he was three. He 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.”