Leicester

Leicester kebab shop trial: Passer-by 'could have been killed'

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Media captionThe jury was shown CCTV footage of the moment the kebab shop on Narborough Road exploded

A woman walking near a Leicester kebab shop at the moment a fire caused a fatal explosion feared she could also have been killed, a court has heard.

Fiaz Ahmed Ansari, 40, was found in the rubble of Kams King of the Grill, almost 15 hours after the blast in the early hours of 29 August 2011.

Shahbaz Khan, from Harrow, and Mehwish Yasin, from Birmingham, both aged 25, deny manslaughter and arson.

Leicester Crown Court heard all three were involved in an insurance scam.

Prosecutor Adrienne Lucking told the court that Mr Ansari, a father of two, was heavily in debt.

'Loud hissing sound'

In 2006, he borrowed £42,000 but had only managed to pay back a few hundred pounds.

A few months before the explosion he told his wife that the restaurant was not making any money and he would have to sell the business, the court heard.

Ms Lucking read out several witness statements, including one from a woman who was walking home with her son, just as the kebab shop on Narborough Road exploded.

She said she remembered hearing "the sound of releasing air, a loud hissing sound and then an intense bang". The force of the blast pushed the pair backwards.

She added she then realised they "could have easily been killed".

The prosecution said Ms Yasin drove Mr Ansari and Mr Khan to the kebab shop in the early hours and dropped them off.

They then used petrol to set fire to the kebab shop as part of a plan to claim on an insurance policy taken out a few weeks before the blaze, the prosecution alleges.

The shop was completely destroyed, but it was initially believed that no-one had been hurt.

Mr Ansari's body was found during site clearance work the following day.

The trial continues.

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