18/01/2019 13:51 GMT | Updated 18/01/2019 14:08 GMT

Three Men Jailed For Life Over Leicester Shop Explosion That Killed Five

Aram Kurd and Arkan Ali will serve a minimum of 38 years, while Hawkar Hassan will serve 33.

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Some nearby residents thought the blast had been caused by a bomb 

Three men who killed five people in a “bomb-like” shop blast in Leicester have been jailed for life.

Arkan Ali, Hawkar Hassan and Aram Kurd were convicted of murder and plotting to claim a £300,000 insurance pay-out last month.  

On Friday, a judge at Leicester Crown Court handed Kurd and Ali life sentences with a minimum term of 38 years. Hassan was given a minimum term of 33 years for his part in the attack.

They 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.

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Mary Ragoobeer with her sons Sean and Shane

The court previously heard how some residents living near the Polish supermarket on Hinckley Road, Leicester, thought a bomb had reduced the property to rubble.

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.

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.

The trio were also convicted of conspiring with Ijevleva to make a gain, by dishonestly pursuing an insurance claim in respect of the fire.

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Leah Beth Reek, 18, was also killed

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 on Sunday 25 February.

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 judge added: “The arson attack on this terraced building was exceptionally dangerous and put the lives of neighbours and other members of the public at a high level of risk. The defendants caused an exceptionally high level of harm.”

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Viktorija Ijevleva was among the victims