Family murder story prompts record sale for Accrington Observer

The weekly Accrington Observer hit record sales on the back of a tragic story of a family who were murdered in an arson attack on their house.

Caneze Riaz and her daughters died in the blaze in Accrington. The father, Mohammed — who police described as the only suspect — was taken to hospital with burns, but later died.

The Observer sold 16,179 copies on the back of its coverage — the first time it has exceeded 16,000 in its 119-year history.

Observer editor Mervyn Kay decided to print the paper overnight, allowing its coverage of the incident to appear in newsagents first thing in the morning alongside the nationals.

Reporters and photographers worked through the day and late into the evening to produce a dramatic front page and three inside pages covering the tragedy.

Kay said: "We were fortunate to be given an overnight slot at our Oldham printing plant, where the Daily Mirror and Manchester Evening News are also printed. We were on sale by 6am instead of the usual 3pm.

"It was a marvellous team effort by everyone, including production and newspaper sales.

"The result was really professional and we even had praise from the family of the victims who said how sensitively we had handled the story."

The paper was also printed early the following week when the family's funeral was held.

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