Leicester

Leicester explosion: Shopkeeper 'made prison confession'

Aftermath of the explosion in Leicester Image copyright Matthew Cane / Leicestershire Fire and Rescue
Image caption The fire service said the explosion caused a "pancake collapse" where floors fell into the basement

A shopkeeper "confessed" to a fellow prisoner that he caused a fatal blast at his store, a jury has been told.

While on remand, Aram Kurd allegedly told an inmate the insurance firm would pay more if people died.

Five people, including three members of the same family, were killed in the explosion in Leicester in February.

The court was also told that Mr Kurd said shop worker Viktorija Ijevleva should die as he did not want to split the money with her.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Sean Ragoobeer, 17, Mary Ragoobar, 46, and Shane Ragoobeer, 18, were all killed

The explosion happened at 19:01 GMT on 25 February in Hinckley Road, destroying the Zabka supermarket on the ground floor and the flat above it.

Mr Kurd, 34, of Hillary Place, Leicester, Hawkar Hassan, 33, of no fixed address, and Arkan Ali, 37, of Drake Close, Oldham, are accused of causing the explosion in order to make about £300,000 from insurance.

Leicester Crown Court was told the cause of the blast was a cocktail of petrol, white spirit and barbeque lighter fluid, which could not have been in the basement by accident.

In the aftermath of the blast, it was said, Mr Kurd repeatedly told witnesses he had avoided the explosion as he had been getting beer at the rear of the shop.

Image caption Aram Kurd, Hawkar Hassan and Arkan Ali were seen on CCTV at the time of the blast, the court heard

However, the prosecution said he "knew where to be" to avoid being hurt.

On remand, he allegedly spoke to another prisoner about how he attempted to "get away with it", including repositioning CCTV and cutting himself to appear injured.

Image copyright LOROS
Image caption Shane Ragoobeer's girlfriend Leah Reek, 18, was killed

The court also heard from a forensic pathologist who said four of the dead - Mary Ragoobar, her sons Shane and Sean Ragoobeer and Shane's girlfriend Leah Reek - died from smoke inhalation and burns, while Ms Ijevleva died from multiple fractures caused by the building's collapse.

Mr Kurd, Mr Hassan and Mr Ali each deny five charges of murder, five charges of manslaughter and a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

The trial continues.

Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption The court heard Viktorija Ijevleva, 22, "knew too much" about the plot and was left to die in the fire

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