Widower says police could have prevented Greve arson death

Two young men arrested in connection with deadly fire; third female suspect in hospital after breaking both legs during fiery leap from window

Two men, one just 16-years-old and the other 18, are in police custody suspected of setting the fire in an apartment in Greve on Friday that killed 26-year-old Nilab Shahkor, a woman of Afghan origin who lived in the apartment with her husband, 27-year-old Mashal Ghafouri.

Both men admitted that they had been on the scene of the fire and explosion, but denied that they were responsible.

Police said that the men gave conflicting statements which ran counter to evidence that investigators had pieced together from witnesses and surveillance images from cameras located at Hundige Station.

The 16-year-old, a Danish citizen of a Moroccan family that lives in Copenhagen, turned himself into police and was arrested and charged with arson and murder. He has admitted to being in the entranceway to the apartment building when the fire occurred.

The 18-year-old was arrested Saturday night in the Malmö area by Swedish police. He is a Danish citizen from a Pakistani family that lives in Copenhagen.

A woman in her twenties who was burned in the incident and broke both of her legs when she leapt from the apartment’s third floor window was charged in absentia with arson and murder.

Neighbours told Ekstra Bladet tabloid that the woman who jumped “left her face prints on the sidewalk and her legs dangled in a completely unnatural angle” as she hit the pavement.

The walls around the apartment were completely blackened and the smell of smoke hung in the air as investigators began examining the evidence.

A man who lives on the same floor as the ravaged apartment told Ekstra Bladet that there was a strong odour of petrol coming from the basement before the explosion and that residents had discovered that the lens of a surveillance camera had been freshly painted over.

Police would not speculate if the incident had any connection to ongoing gang conflicts in the area, but Simon Schwaner, an information officer for Midt og Vestsjælland’s police, did not rule out the possibility of a connection. Schwaner said the case was now in the hands of the investigators.

“I urge anyone with any information on the case to contact the police,” he told Ekstra Bladet.

Mashal Ghafouri told BT tabloid that he was grief stricken by the loss of his wife.

Ghafouri was working outside of Denmark when he received the devastating news about the fire.

“I was in Oslo when a friend called and said that I needed to call home,” Ghafouri told BT. “After I finally got through to my father, he told me my wife had been seriously burned in a fire.”

Ghafouri did not learn that his wife was dead until he made it back to Denmark some two hours later.

“Why? I keep asking myself: Why her? Should I have been at home?”

Ghafouri said that he had repeatedly tried to speak to the police before the fire. He said that the keys to his apartment had been stolen two weeks before the couple’s wedding on June 22 of this year. A new lock was put in, but Ghafouri said his keys turned up missing again and that a dowry that he planned to give his wife of cash, gold and jewellery worth 150,000 kroner had been stolen.

“I have provided all kinds of evidence, but the police did nothing,” Ghafouri told BT. “People told me I should watch my back and warned me not to go to the police.”

Ghafouri said that when he told police that he had received threatening phone calls, they told him to change his number.

“They would not investigate because there had been no murder … it has happened now,” he said.

Of the suspects, Ghafouris said: “You can try them, give them long sentences and throw them out of the country, but it will not give me my wife back.”

Nearby residents were shocked by the violence of the attack, which occurred in broad daylight.

“They are quiet and nice people,” a neighbour told Ekstra Bladet. “It all seems so unreal; the family is completely out of it and have been crying ever since it happened.”

Neighbours of the slain woman and her family have been offered grief counselling.

“I may accept the offer,” said one young woman. “I just can not grasp it right now. I just want to be with my family.”