A SIKH who was popular in the local community was tragically killed by a fire in his flat after mistakenly being caught up in a revenge attack that went wrong.
Singh Rooprai, 60, (left) died after being trapped in his downstairs flat on Field Road in Forest Gate, after Tyrone Jacobs, 27, (right) had deliberately set fire to the property in an attempt to target another man he had fallen out with.
Rooprai’s body was recovered and identified by his dental records. Jacobs, of Ramsay Road, E7, was convicted and sentenced to life (to serve a minimum of 30 years) at the Inner London Crown Court last Friday (1) for the murder.
The arson attack happened on Christmas Day 2015 after Jacobs, who had had an earlier altercation with a neighbour of Rooprai’s, returned to douse a downstairs hall with petrol at the converted flats property.
The ensuing blaze trapped Rooprai in the burning property despite his desperate attempts to escape, while Jacob’s intended target got away.
Witnesses identified Jacob as being responsible for the arson, leading to his arrest.
Detective chief inspector Steve McCabe, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “Jacobs was hell bent on revenge and causing further harm to those he had attacked earlier that morning.
“When setting the house on fire, Jacobs was well aware that many of the occupants could have been seriously injured or killed, and as a consequence Mr Singh Rooprai became the innocent victim. He had nothing to do with their dispute but died as a result of it.”
The news of Rooprai’s death was met with disbelief in the local Sikh community. A statement spoke about “the loss felt by the whole family of Harbhajan Singh Rooprai; who was a much-loved husband, father, cousin, brother and uncle”.