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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

Men jailed for life for fatal shop explosion in 'wicked' insurance scam attempt

The three men torched a Polish supermarket in Leicester in February last year, killing 5 people.

The scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester after the explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed the Polish shop.
The scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester after the explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed the Polish shop.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THREE MEN WERE jailed for life in Britain today for murdering five people when they blew up a shop in an attempted insurance scam.

Shopkeeper Aram Kurd, Hawkar Hassan and Arkan Ali torched a Polish supermarket in Leicester, central England in February last year, destroying the shop and the flat above.

The trio were plotting to claim a £300,000 (or €340,000) insurance pay-out.

“None of the defendants has shown the slightest bit of remorse for their wicked crimes. They were exceptionally callous and deceitful,” said judge David Holgate at Leicester Crown Court.

I agree with the prosecution that it is plain beyond doubt that Kurd and Ali were both centrally involved in the planning of these crimes.
It is plain from the way they both behaved in court and outside that they are highly manipulative and cunning individuals.

The three men’s plot involved dousing the basement of the building in petrol in an arson attack, which destroyed the supermarket and the flat above it.

Shop worker Viktorija Ijevleva, 22, was left to die in the explosion because she “knew too much” about the insurance policy taken out less than three weeks earlier.

Ijevleva, Mary Ragoobeer, 46, her teenage sons Shane and Sean, and 18-year-old Leah Beth Reek, who was Shane’s girlfriend, were all killed in the blast.

Ali, 38, Hassan, 33, and Kurd, 34, were unanimously convicted of five counts of murder and a further charge of conspiring with Ijevleva to make a gain, by dishonestly pursuing an insurance claim in respect of the fire.

Ali and Kurd were both jailed for a minimum of 38 years, while Hassan was given a 33-year sentence.

They were arrested three days after the explosion.

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