SAIMA Hameeda Mumtaz recalls the devastating moments her family was torn apart after a fire ripped through her parents’ house 12 years ago.

She lived in Australia but had travelled to Bolton on holiday to visit her mum Hameeda Begum and dad Mumtaz Chishty with her four-year-old daughter Alana.

Saima and Alana were staying at the family home on Little Holme Walk in Great Lever and late on June 23, 2008 a wheelie bin was pushed against the house and set alight.

Police say they are treating the attack as racist and are offering £50,000 for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Now 36, Saima said: "I remember Mum screaming out to me. She was trying to wake me up.

"There was just me and Alana in my room.

"I got up and went out of my room and there was smoke everywhere in the house.

"Mum was continuing to scream.

"She said, 'Saima, Saima, I am going to die!'

"I said 'Mum listen to me, listen to my voice, come towards me'.

"I could see only see her shadow as it was really dark and I could see she was in a state of panic.

"The next thing I knew she collapsed.

"When something like that happens you have to make a decision, do I risk going to my Mum or hope someone will will rescue us?

"I thought Alana still has a chance, she can survive this.

"I remember going back into my room and putting a blanket at the bottom of the door to prevent the smoke coming in and covering Alana up.

"I had a separate landline and I started hearing my dad's voice. He told me to call the ambulance and I was crying down the phone.

"It all happened really quickly."

Firefighters rescued the family from the fire but Hameeda, 71, died an hour-and-a-half later after being taken to hospital.

Alana passed away just over a month later from her injuries.

Saima was in hospital for around two months. She was in an induced coma for three weeks and suffered a collapsed lung, had a tracheotomy and sustained 15 per cent third degree burns to her face and body.

She found out about her mother's and daughter's death on the same day.

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Alana

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Saima and Alana

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Alana

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Alana with her dad Fahad

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Mumtaz and Hameeda

"Alana was a very clever, inquisitive and a cheeky little girl", Saima said.

"She was very gentle, fun, bubbly and she would brighten up every room she'd walk into.

"Alana had a way of touching peoples hearts - a very special soul.

"She was her Mama's little girl."

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Saima said: "Mum had a heart of gold. She always welcomed everyone with a smile.

"She was very generous and forgiving, she was a religious woman and taught me the values of life.

"I've never met another woman like my mum in my life."

Saima returned to Australia but struggled to cope with her job in a nursery and her marriage with Alana's dad Fahad suffered. They eventually got divorced.

Saima, who battled with depression, came back to the UK after a few years to be closer to her family.

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Saima says this photograph depicts how she feels - alone in darkness with just herself and her thoughts. She says "the light is the small ray of hope that I'm clinging onto that will finally take me towards my mum and daughter who will be waiting for me at the gates of heaven".

After years of grieving, Saima, who has had nine skin surgeries, has decided now is the time to seek answers about what happened that fateful night.

She said: "We always believe God will give us justice

"It's taken a long time for us to pluck up the courage to speak about it.

"I was injured mentally and physically. I just did not have the confidence or energy.

"I could not get my Mum's screaming voice out of my head - I was not able to sleep.

"I suffered so much depression and was not even able to step outside my bedroom.

"I was angry and upset. I thought it was my purpose to be a mother and wondered why this happened to me.

"I feel that I am now in the position where I can talk about it.

"I want to finally piece everything together.

"I do not want people to feel sorry for me, I want answers.

"Have the people who did it not gained a conscious in 12 years?

"They probably have a family of their own. Put yourself in my position if that happened to you, especially when it was unprovoked.

"I do not think they are sorry or have a conscious.

"The perpetrators are out there still laughing and thinking they have outsmarted the law."

Two people, aged 22 and 12, were arrested in July 2008 in connection with the arson attack.

Two people were later sentenced for intimidating witnesses and another for affray but no-one has ever been convicted of starting the blaze.

Head of Greater Manchester Police's Cold Case Unit, Martin Bottomley, said: "It's

clear to me this was a racist attack.

"It is treated as such and is still ongoing - we just want justice.

"We need someone from the community to say 'this is what happened, this is what someone said to me'.

"Today (Tuesday) marks 12 years since the fatal arson attack which tragically resulted in the deaths of Hameeda and Alana Begum.

"A mother was also seriously injured and a firefighter was not able to resume his career.

“This very sad case still resonates with the local community and we will continue to investigate any intelligence or lead which could lead us to convict someone of these horrendous crimes.

"We have not given up hope and remain determined as ever to find their killer and provide the family with the justice they deserve.

“We will never be able to reunite this family with their lost ones, but by finding those responsible we will hopefully be able to offer this suffering family a small amount of solace by providing answers to their questions which have remained unanswered for far too long.

“If anyone at all has any information that could help lead us to those responsible, please come forward and speak to police.

"I understand that this event took place 12 years ago, but I believe that there are people in the community who may have valuable information that can assist our investigation.

“The £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible remains in place and we are aware that allegiances change over time.

"We will not close this case until those responsible are brought to justice.” 

Now 83, Mumtaz, who suffered minor injuries in the fire, says he is "living at home like a prisoner".

He said: "Every day is hard.

"I believe in God and that he can help me.

"I think the people who started the fire are evil. I want to know the reason why they did it."

Mumtaz regularly visits the resting places of Alana, Hameeda and son Anjad, who died at the age of six in 1988 after being hit by a car.

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The resting places of Anjad, Hameeda and Alana

Saima has worked as an adult social care worker for five years and takes satisfaction from her job caring for others but she still feels like she is living a nightmare.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 0161 856 5978.

Reports can also be made anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.