ARSON victim Joel Uhrie’s distraught older brother survived an attempted stabbing at the house just weeks before the tragedy, it emerged last night.

Relatives suspect gang rivals of Sam, 21, who has spent time in jail and is thought to have lived there until recently, were targeting him when they killed Joel, seven.

Joel’s aunt Ruth Urhie, 64, said: “Sam has just come out of jail and they came there to stab him.

“He’s the one they are looking for and they take the life of this young boy.”

Other relatives claimed Joel’s devastated mum Sophie had blamed Sam when he visited her and his sister Sarah, 18, in hospital after they both escaped the flames.

A family member claimed Sophie confronted Sam telling him "you have killed Joel", yesterday.

The family of tragic arson boy Joel Uhrie has backed a Sun reward of £25,000 to nail his killers and begged: “Someone please help us.”

A picture of Sam was given to The Sun Online by pals after being shared on Snapchat with the words "pain" and "you won't even know the half".

Witnesses told how the grief-stricken brother was heard screaming: "It should have been me. Why not me to die?" as he travelled to the hospital after the blaze.

And today it emerged that grieving mum Efe, also known as Sophie, confronted her son in emotional scenes in hospital barely 24 hours after the fire had claimed his little brother's life.

A cousin of Joel's dad John, who did not want to give her name, told The Sun Online: "The mum blamed him. She told him straight away in the hospital ‘you have killed Joel'."

They further claimed Sam had fallen in with a "bad crowd" before the fire - a potential motive behind the blaze.

They added: "His parents have been trying to get him back on the straight and narrow.

"She’s tried as much as a mum could try. She’s a great mum.

"He fell into the wrong crowd. (His dad) John was getting stressed out by it."

A friend told how Sam was grief-stricken as he visited mum Sophie, 49, and sister Sarah, 18, in a hospital where they were recovering from non-life threatening injuries.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman told The Daily Mirror Sam was jailed for four years and four months in February 2014 for two counts of supplying drugs and one of possession of “criminal property – cash”.

They said: “He pleaded guilty to all three.”

The family member also claimed parents John and Efe had been driven apart by Sam's behaviour, adding: "Sam drove them apart, he wasn’t listening, he was getting involved in fights, they didn’t know where he was coming from or where he was going to."

Joel died trapped in his bedroom after a fire was deliberately started at his home.

His mum and sister escaped by leaping from a first-floor window.

Police have today seized potentially crucial CCTV footage as they investigate whether the attack is linked to a gang dispute.

CID officers removed the box connected to the camera system from a flat on the other side of the road from Joel's family home.

Family friend Grace Gbenedio, 56, said she visited Joel's family in hospital on Tuesday, saying they were "doing well".

She added she had spoken to Joel's brother Sam to ask how he was feeling and he said he is "fine as much as possible".

Asked about speculation that he could have been the target, she said: "It can't be possible."

Alex Hope, 29, who knew Joel's brother Sam when they were growing up, said: "It's just devastating. I would love to know what the actual reason is.

"No one deserves that and it's just a shame the little one passed away in such tragic circumstances."

A neighbour, who lives five doors down, told The Sun Online today the family was reeling from the tragedy.

They said: "The mum is an amazing woman. Sam came round at about 7am in the morning and the police spoke to him.

"He wanted to get into the house and see his brother but wasn’t allowed. So he went to the hospital with his mum and sister. Everyone is still in shock."

A murder inquiry began after investigators established the fire was started with an accelerant.

Joel’s dad John, who is estranged from Sophie, raced to the house after getting a phone call telling him of the fire.

He said: “The first person I saw was my daughter in an ambulance. Then they said, ‘Joel is dead’. He was just a little boy. Seven years old.

“It’s devastating. He was a very lovely boy, it’s a terrible loss.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to attack my family.”

The family issued a heartbreaking photo of Joel wearing a child’s play firefighter outfit at a birthday party.

They said he had dreamed of becoming a firefighter one day.

Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan said: “An innocent seven-year-old boy has lost his life in what should have been the safest place for him — his own home.

“The pain his family must be enduring at this time is difficult to imagine. It’s truly shocking.”

Homicide detectives said they were keeping an “open mind” about the motive for the fire. The fire brigade said Joel was dead by the time firefighters got to him.