NEWS
27/02/2018 12:14 GMT | Updated 27/02/2018 13:56 GMT

Leicester Explosion: 5 Missing Named By Police

A mother and her two sons are among them.

Police have named five people missing since the explosion in Leicester on Sunday night.

They are Mary Rajoobeer, 46, and her two sons Shane, 18, and Sean, 17, Leah Beth Reek, 18, who was Shane’s girlfriend, and Viktorija Ljevleva, 22.

Rajoobeer and her sons lived in the flat above the supermarket, which was destroyed in the blast. They and Reek are missing, as is Ljevleva, who is thought to have been working in the supermarket at the time of the explosion. 

The human remains of five people have been recovered from the wreckage, but it may be some time before these can be formally identified, Leicestershire Police said. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Emergency personnel at the scene of the blast in Hinckley Road in Leicester

Their relatives have been informed and are being supported by officers. 

Five other people were taken to hospital, one in a critical condition. 

On Monday emergency crews had to temporarily halt a search and rescue operation on the site in Hinckley Road because of the “structural integrity” of a neighbouring building.

Emergency services said they do not believe there are any survivors in the rubble. But Matt Cane, of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We cannot rule out the possibility of other people having been in the premises at the time of the explosion and whom we have yet to locate.

“While we have no intelligence to suggest this is the case, we cannot rule out that possibility until the search is over.”

Leicestershire Police Superintendent Shane O’Neill said a new “recovery” phase had begun.

He added: “Tragically, all we are now looking for is any further human remains. This is vital work that is being done, on behalf of the victims and their families, and it will take some time to complete.

“People lost their lives on Sunday in the most horrific way. We need to understand why the building exploded.

“But identifying the bodies we have recovered from the wreckage, and understand the cause of the incident, is not an easy task, and I would continue to ask for the support and patience of local people as we carry out this serious and necessary work.”

The Leicester Mercury said the shop was a Polish convenience store called Zabka Leicester and above it was a two-storey apartment.

Police and the fire service said it would take time to establish what caused the explosion but that there was no immediate indication it was linked to terrorism.

Emergency services responded to reports of the blast from concerned residents at about 7pm and police declared a major incident.

Firefighters worked through the night to dig through rubble and tackle the explosion’s subsequent blaze.

Video taken at the scene on Sunday night showed flames billowing into the night sky as the fire engulfed what is believed to be a convenience store.

One clip appeared to show emergency services rushing to help someone close to flames that were visible from a distance.

The building appears to have stood next to a shop called TJ’s Takeaway.

PA Wire/PA Images
The blast was declared a 'major incident' by police 

A 23-year-old man who was driving metres away when the explosion took place said: “In those first few minutes straight after the explosion, I ran over and picked up a plank from the rubble and saw a man lying there beneath it.

“It was very traumatic, but the police came up behind me and told me to stay back. It was the worst experience of my life.”

Ady Wells, an event manager who has lived in Leicester for the past four years, was on his way home with his girlfriend after having lunch.

He added: “The emergency services did really well.”

According to Mr Wells, he and his girlfriend, 19-year-old Ruby-May Dexter, “sat in the car for an hour afterwards and just cried”.