Murder detectives are renewing their appeals for information a year after the death of a seven-year-old boy Joel Urhie who was killed in an arson attack on his Lewisham home.
On August 7 2018, Joel’s body was found in the upstairs bedroom he shared with his mother at their house in Adolphus Street after a fire – his mother and older sister, who were also upstairs at the property, managed to escape by jumping from first floor windows.
Shortly after a murder investigation was launched and police believe the fire was started when a burning item was pushed through the letterbox.
Two males, aged 21 and 29, were arrested on August 11 2018 at an addresses in south London, on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and arson with intent to endanger life but they were released under investigation.
Now police are asking members of the public to come forward with any information they might have about Joel’s death.
The charity Crimestoppers have pledged a reward of up to £10,000 for information they receive anonymously that leads to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the murder of Joel Urhie.
The officer leading the investigation, DCI Mark Wrigley, said: “A thorough investigation has been ongoing for a year now, and this is continuing. I remain committed to finding the person or people responsible for killing Joel.
“The fire service report indicated that accelerant had been used at the front door of the house. We have completed extensive reviews of available CCTV, and this led to us identifying and eliminating a man buying petrol, about whom we issued a previous appeal.
“However, we are pursuing a number of other lines of enquiry, and we are unable to rule in or out any particular motive at this time.
“I do want to remind anyone with information that we are dealing with the death of an innocent seven-year-old child. He should have been able to sleep safely with his mother, but instead he died at a tragically young age due to a callous attack which was doubtless motivated by factors far behind the comprehension of any young child.
“There are people out there who know exactly what went on and who is responsible for Joel’s death. I need them to call me now.”
Joel’s cousin, Tega Majoroh, said: “Joel 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.
“I would come to the house and he’d 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.”
Joel’s mother Efe 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 and loved going to church.
“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.”
Anyone with information call the Crimestoppers UK contact centre on 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. The charity guarantees 100% anonymity to everyone who contacts them.
Anyone can also contact the dedicated incident room on 020 8345 3715.