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  1. ITV Report

'Callous and deceitful': Three men jailed for life after murdering five people in Leicester shop explosion

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Stacey Foster

Aram Kurd, 34 and Arkan Ali, 38 have been jailed for life with a minimum term of 38 years at Leicester Crown Court for murdering five people in a “bomb-like” shop blast after plotting to gain a £300,000 insurance pay-out.

Hawkar Hassan, 33, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 33 years for his part in the attack.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Holgate told Kurd, Ali and Hassan: "None of the defendants has shown the slightest bit of remorse for their wicked crimes. They were exceptionally callous and deceitful.

"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 trio used “many, many litres of petrol” in an arson attack on Kurd’s supermarket, causing an explosion which completely destroyed the shop and a flat above the premises on February 25 2018.

The next morning he told ITV News on camera he had no idea what caused the explosion and invented a detailed story of how he was thrown in the air by the blast.

Instead CCTV cameras would show him running safely away from the scene as investigators pinpointed him, Ali and Hassan for the inside job.

Leicester Crown Court heard how some residents living near the Polish supermarket on Hinckley Road, Leicester, thought a bomb had reduced the property to rubble such was the bang and devastation.

A five-week trial was told the defendants left shop worker Viktorija Ijevleva, 22, to die in the building because she was aware of the insurance policy taken out less than three weeks earlier.

Opening the Crown’s case at the start of the trial, prosecutor David Herbert QC told a jury of seven women and five men the defendants intended to maximise the damage to the premises and “would have known” people would have been in the two-storey flat above.

Viktorija Ljevleva was among the victims. Credit: Leicestershire Police

Ali, 38, Hassan, 33, and Kurd, 34, were assisted by a Kurdish interpreter throughout the trial after denying murder and alternative counts of manslaughter.

But they were unanimously found guilty of five counts of murder after 11 hours and 26 minutes of deliberations.

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