Wednesday 31 May 2017 – Three found dead in Liverpool flat once lived in by John Lennon | plus updates: Friday 2 June 2017, Tuesday 6 June 2017, Saturday 10 June 2017 & Tuesday 13 June 2017

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Emergency services were called to the flat on Falkner Street in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter last night after reports of a domestic dispute and a gas leak.  It quickly escalated into a multiple murder investigation when police found three bodies – two children and a woman – in the flat. Neighbours say a young Yemeni family lived in the flat.  The children are said to have been four and six.  A 30-year-old man was arrested before being taken to hospital after taking ill.  He was later discharged from hospital and taken to a police station for questioning on suspicion of murder.  Police cordoned off the area, closing both Falkner Street and Catharine Street. Residents of nearby houses, along with staff and customers in the Blackburne Arms on the junction of the two streets, were evacuated. Residents were also told to keep their windows and doors closed as a precaution.  Police say they believe the deaths are “domestic related” though post-mortems are yet to be carried out. They are currently not looking for anyone else.  One resident, Aaron Fogg, said:

 

“I heard the screams of a woman when the discovery was made.

 

“We were told there had been a gas leak, and we had to leave our premises until further notice.

 

“Everyone was gathered in the middle of the road, and some went to the Belvidere pub.”

 

Another resident said of the sudden evacuation:

 

“The police said we had a couple of minutes to get out of the house. There were ambulances, fire engines and police here. We weren’t allowed back in until about 11pm.”

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Police forensic teams descended on the flat, where they have been working all day today. Reports suggest “a substance was being tested,” and that the forensic team are wearing protective clothing and at times,  gas masks. No smoking signs and a National Grid emergency sign were visible outside the properties closest to the scene.

 

The flat on the ground floor of the Georgian townhouse was once owned by The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein and it was where John and Cynthia spent their honeymoon night in 1962. John and Cynthia continued to use the flat throughout Cynthia’s pregnancy in 1962-3. Lennon is also said to have written the song “Do You want To Know A Secret?” at the flat in an attempt to reassure Cynthia he still loved her even though he had to keep the marriage secret from the public.  It is a popular stop on the various Beatles tours in the city, with one local saying:

 

“The tourist tours are always stopping at the house because John Lennon used to live there.”

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Photos: Emergency vehicles on Catharine Street and looking down Falkner Street, the flat is behind the tree on the left

 

A spokesman for Merseyside Police issued a statement:

 

“The investigation is in its early stages and officers are keeping an open mind, however it is believed that the incident is domestic related.

 

“A 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and has subsequently been taken to hospital after falling ill.

 

“At this stage police are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.

 

“A Home Office post mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death of the deceased.”

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Residents were let back into their homes later in the evening, with the exception of the two houses neighbouring the house where the bodies were discovered.  Falkner Street and Catharine Street remained closed on Wednesday morning.  Falkner Street is only a ten minute walk from my house in nearby Toxteth. The street is part of the city’s Georgian Quarter, an area of the city which contains some of Liverpool’s oldest and finest residential properties.  The area is frequently used for filming in various period dramas and films. The lower part of Falkner Street, where this incident took place, has become popular in recent years with various bistros and bars servicing the people who visit the neighbour Hope Street and nearby Philharmonic Hall. It is also only a few minutes from both of Liverpool’s cathedrals.

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At least one Beatles fan tuned up at the former John Lennon home today and was shocked to find the address was now a major crime scene. Fan David McGann from Australia was taking a Fab Four Beatles Taxi Tour which includes No. 36 Falkner Street on its route. Mr McGann said: “We just pulled in to the street and saw the cars. It is a bit of shock and an awful thing to hear about. It’s a shame and I am sorry to hear it.” His tour guide was taxi driver Jay Riley, who visits Falkner Street twice a day as part of his tour route, said:

 

“It is the first time I have turned up to anything like this.

 

“I’m really surprised actually.

 

“I heard it on the news this morning but I didn’t know that it was this house – number 36.

 

“My passenger was just shocked.”


Update: Friday 2 June 2017

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JS121801990A 30-year-old man, named as Sami Salem (right)– thought to be from Yemen – has appeared at Liverpool Magistrates Court charged with the murder of the woman and two children found dead at 36 Falkner Street on Tuesday night.  A provisional trial date for November has been set. He was asked  in court if he understood the charges against him, to which he replied “Yes.”   He did no enter a plea ort request bail  and  was remanded in custody. He will next appear in court on 30 June when he will enter a plea. Today   The names of the victims were not given  and the magistrate  ordered their names not be published.   Police forensic teams were still at the address today.


Update: Tuesday 6 June 2017

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Photos: Shadia Salem, Rami Saaed and Arena Saaed

 

Photographs have been released of the woman and her two daughters allegedly killed by Sami Salem, the woman’s husband.  The three victims are Arena Saaed and her daughters Shadia Salem, aged 6, and Rami Saaed, aged 4.  They were murdered at their home on Falkner Street in Toxteth, Liverpool a week ago today.  A family member sent the photographs to the Liverpool Echo. She said he was afraid to speak about the case but was happy to share some photos and hoped the police would give the family answers to what happened and why.  The relative did explain that Arena had moved to Liverpool from Yemen to be with her husband and the children were born in the UK.  The cause of their deaths has not yet been released.

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Photo: Shadia and Rami and Shadia in Liverpool ONE with their father Sami Saaed


Update: Saturday 10 June 2017

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Photo: Rami and Shadia

 

The woman and her two children murdered in a Toxteth flat are to be buried in a mosque at Liverpool after it was reported their family could not afford to repatriate their bodies to Yemen where the family come from.  The local community has rallied together to pay for their funeral. Arena Saaed will be buried alongside her six-year-old daughter Shadia Salem and four-year-old daughter Rami Saaed later this week. Arena’s husband, 30-year-old Sami Salem has been charged with their murder and is currently in prison waiting trial.

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Photo: Arena with her husband Sami Salem


Update: Tuesday 13 June 2017

The funeral for Arena Saaed, Shadia Salem and Rami Saaed took place yesterday after afternoon prayers (Zuhr)  were said for them at Liverpool’s al-Rhama Mosque in Toxteth.  They were then buried at Allerton Cemetery.  Members of their family in Yemen were unable to attend.  You can read more in the Liverpool Echo.


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