Family’s tribute to man killed in Christmas Day fire

Harbhajan Singh Rooprai

Harbhajan Singh Rooprai - Credit: MPS

The cousin of a man killed in a house fire on Christmas Day has paid tribute to a “generous and thoughtful individual”.

Police at the scene of the fire in Field Road

Police at the scene of the fire in Field Road - Credit: Archant

His cousin, Harjit Rooprai, said the family had been left “devastated” by the 60-year-old’s death.

“Words cannot express the pain and anguish our family and friends have endured,” he said. “We are still in disbelief that a member of our family has been so cruelly snatched away from us.”

Detectives believe the blaze was started deliberately and have charged Tyrone Jacobs, 27, of Ramsay Road, Forest Gate, with murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

A 32-year-old woman also arrested in connection with the fire has been released on police bailed until February.

Mr Rooprai, known as Bhajan, played an active role within the Sikh community as a member of the Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara, where he spent time serving others.

He is said to have been looking forward to his youngest daughter’s wedding, set to take place in India later this year.

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Mr Rooprai’s cousin said: “He was a generous and thoughtful individual who always had a friendly smile on his face considering the many hardships he confronted throughout his life.

“Harbhajan was loved by many and will be missed dearly. As the murder investigation is ongoing, we would like to thank the community for their ongoing support and condolences.”

Officers are still looking to speak to anyone who has not yet come forward with information.

Det Chief Insp Steve McCabe, who is leading the investigation, said: “One person has already been charged in connection with the investigation, but it is of paramount importance that we speak to all those that were in the vicinity of Field Road in the early hours of Christmas Day for us to establish the full circumstances.

“I am keen to hear from a number of people seen driving in the area shortly before the fire. I am particularly appealing to those within the local community, as I believe the answers lies with them as to why the home in Field Road was targeted.

“Any information, no matter how small, may just assist with our inquiry.”

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 8345 1570 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.