Third member of Cardiff family dies from ‘poisoning’ in Bangladesh

A woman has become the latest family member of a British family of five on holiday in Bangladesh to die from a suspected poisoning.

Samira Islam, 20, died on Friday after she was discovered unconscious in a locked room by police officers on 26 July. Her father, Rafiqul Islam, 51, a taxi driver, and his 16-year-old son, Mahiqul, also died in the rented flat in the eastern city of Sylhet.

Samira Islam’s mother, Husnara, 45, and the older son, Sadiqul, 24, were being treated in hospital and are said to be recovering well. They have since been released from hospital, a source told the BBC.

The family, from the Riverside area of Cardiff, were on a two-month holiday visiting relatives in the country. After eating dinner on Monday 25 July, the family were found unconscious the following day by relatives who raised the alarm having heard sounds from the flat and tried unsuccessfully to open the door.

“Our primary suspicion is they were poisoned,” said Supt Farid Uddin, adding all family members had slept in the same room, the doors were locked and there was no sign of forced entry.

Samira was previously in critical condition and on life support in hospital. Police said they had collected samples to examine in a laboratory to better understand the cause of death.

“Our investigators are speaking with the relatives of the victims. So far we don’t think they have any enmity with anyone,” said Uddin.

Masudul Amin, the investigating officer, said: “We are also speaking with the relatives who were in the apartment and other residents of the building. No one has been detained or arrested in this murder.”

Those who knew the family in Cardiff were shocked and in disbelief following the news.

Muhibur Islam, an official at the Jalalia mosque and Islamic education centre, has known the family for many years. He described them as very well-liked in Riverside, the hub of a Bangladeshi community in Cardiff.

“It’s very terrible,” said Islam. “It’s very tragic, hard to take in.”

Islam said Rafiqul Islam’s mother and two siblings had flown to Bangladesh. “The circumstances are not clear. We’re praying that those who have survived will pull through,” he added. “We’re praying for them all.”

The family was described as “quiet” and “nice” and said to “do their own thing” by a neighbour who has lived near them for more than 25 years, and who asked to remain anonymous.

Kanaya Singh, a Labour councillor for Riverside, said everyone in the community he had talked to spoke highly of the family.

“There is also a great deal of concern because many people from Riverside go to Bangladesh on a regular basis. I hope that the authorities are able to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.”

On 28 July hundreds of people lined the streets of Sylhet for the funeral of Rafiqul and Mahiqul, according to the BBC.