Police investigating a fire in south east London that killed a seven-year-old boy have launched a murder investigation.

Joel Urhie died in the very severe blaze in Deptford in the early hours of the morning.

Two women, his mother and sister, escaped the flames by jumping from a first-floor window.

Police initially launched an arson investigation, but have since announced a murder probe.

Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan said: This is a truly shocking incident and I extend my sympathies, along with those of the other emergency services, to Joel’s family and friends at this tragic time.

We are now treating this as a murder investigation.

Our work will continue at the scene and I would like to thank the local community for their support as we do this.

The community can help us piece together what happened in the early hours of the morning.

An innocent seven-year-old boy has lost his life in what should have been the safest place for him, his home.

She appealed to anyone with information to speak to police.

As of yet, police have no suspects and no arrests have been made. Detectives say they are keeping their options open as to the motive.

Det Corrigan added: It would be difficult to imagine a seven-year-old could be the motive for anyone’s attack particularly at half three in the morning but we would like anyone with information to come forward.

Joel’s mother and sister are recovering in hospital and have been joined there by his older brother Sam, who is 21.

The boy’s father, John, said the tragedy was terrible.

He added: He played with everyone around here. He was a very nice looking boy.

He said his son’s death was a pain we cannot forget.

Six fire engines and approximately 35 firefighters were called to the house in Adolphus Street shortly before 3.30am.

The fire service said crews arrived to find a very severe fire inside, and the ground floor and first floor were badly damaged.

Joel was found dead by firefighters inside the property.

Police say incidents like this are rare and they are not aware of previous attacks on the home.

:: Anyone with information on this fatal fire is requested to call police on 101 quoting CAD 933/07Aug or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or tweet @MetCC.

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(c) Sky News 2018: Deptford house fire: Murder investigation launched into death of Joel Urhie, 7