Leicester explosion: Trio 'wanted £300k insurance payout'

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The shop and flat above were both destroyed in the blast

Three men accused of the murder of five people in an explosion at a shop had hoped to claim a £300,000 insurance payout, a court has heard.

The blast in Leicester on 25 February destroyed a supermarket and the flat above it where a family lived.

A court heard shop worker Viktorija Ijevleva "knew too much" about the plot and was left to die in the fire.

Aram Kurd, Hawkar Hassan and Arkan Ali deny conspiring to commit fraud and charges of murder and manslaughter.

Mary Ragoobar and two of her sons, Shane and Sean Ragoobeer, were killed along with Shane's girlfriend, Leah Reek, in their flat above the Zabka Polish shop on Hinckley Road.

The third son survived after he was pulled from the rubble. The boys' father was at work at the time.

Image caption,
The three men face charges of murder and manslaughter

Prosecutor David Herbert QC told Leicester Crown Court that Miss Ijevleva, who was Mr Ali's girlfriend, assisted the defendants in obtaining insurance for the shop but was left to die in the explosion because she "knew too much".

"The explosion they caused was created with an intention to kill," he told the jury.

Mr Herbert added: "It is also clear that they knew that people would be in the flat at the time of the explosion. It was, after all, early on a Sunday evening.

"You may think that fact simply didn't bother the defendants."

He said the "massive" explosion was so loud "some in the neighbourhood thought that it was a bomb" and so powerful "it demolished the entire building and killed five people who were inside".

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Mary Ragoobar was killed in the blast, along with her sons Sean (left) and Shane (right)
Image source, LOROS
Image caption,
Shane's girlfriend, Leah Reek also died in the explosion

Jurors were also told Mr Hassan was caught on CCTV buying 26.6 litres of unleaded petrol in a drum, which an analyst said matched a drum found at the scene of the explosion.

Commenting on the amount of fuel bought, Mr Herbert said "an average car takes 50 litres".

Mr Herbert showed jurors CCTV and mobile footage of the explosion in which a loud boom could be heard.

"It was an explosion the prosecution say was caused by many, many litres of petrol," he said.

"The explosion and fire that followed was deliberately caused by these three defendants as part of a plan to profit from a false insurance claim for loss of stock, contents and future loss of business from the shop that was on the ground floor.

"The evidence indicates that had the crime been successful the insurance claim would have been in the region of £300,000.

"It boils down to greed."

Image source, Leicestershire Police
Image caption,
The court heard Viktorija Ijevleva "knew too much" about the plot and was left to die in the fire

Mr Kurd, 34, of Hillary Place in Leicester, Mr Hassan, 33, of no fixed address, and Mr Ali, 37, of Drake Close in Oldham, each deny five charges of murder, five charges of manslaughter and a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

The trial continues.

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