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Coventry man jailed for life after supermarket explosion insurance scam killed 5 people

Editorial Correspondent 18th Jan, 2019 Updated: 18th Jan, 2019

A COVENTRY man has been jailed for life after his involvement in a supermarket explosion which killed five people in a botched insurance scam.

Coventry man Hawkar Hassan along with the owner of the supermarket, Aram Kurd, and associate, Arkan Ali, set fire to Zabka supermarket on February 25 last year.

They used around 50 litres of petrol mixed with other flammable liquids doused all over the basement.

Their plan was to profit from an over-inflated insurance claim as they set to benefit from around £300,000.

In the weeks before the fire, the men hatched their plans – visiting insurance brokers buying flammable liquids including white spirit and barbecue fuel.

The fire and subsequent explosion killed five people. Mary Ragoobeer, her sons, Shane and Sean, and Shane’s girlfriend, Leah Reek were all in the flat above the shop in Hinckley Road, Leicester, when the explosion happened.

The fifth person who died, Viktorija Ijevleva – and the girlfriend of defendant Ali – was in the store at the time and was part of the conspiracy to destroy the building.

After a six-week trial at Leicester Crown Court last month, all three were convicted of five counts of murder and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

And today (Friday, January 18) they have been sentenced at the same court.

Aram Kurd, 34, of Hillary Place, Leicester, was given a life sentence, to serve a minimum of 38 years.

Ali, 38, of Drake Close, Oldham, was also given a life sentence, to serve a minimum of 38 years.

Hassan, 33, of Eld Road, Coventry, was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 33 years.

Detective chief inspector Michelle Keen said: “As an SIO I’ve never dealt with a job that caused so much devastation, both to the families’ who’ve lost family members and to the wider community.

“The impact of this incident is still clear to see almost a year on, and the families will never recover from their loss.

“And all because of the callous actions of these three men who were motivated by money and greed.

“Today marks the end of a long and complex investigation and provides, I hope, some closure to the families whose strength, resolve and dignity throughout the last year has been nothing short of remarkable.

“The lengthy sentences handed down today are reflective of the hideous crimes carried out by the defendants.

“The level of planning carried out prior to the explosion showed they had no regard for human life, and only had one thing in mind – getting their hands on the money from the fraudulent insurance claim.

“While the conviction and sentences can never bring those loved ones back, I hope that it’s of some comfort knowing those responsible are in prison for many, many years to come.”

Throughout the ten-month investigation officers obtained 1,123 statements, carried out 2,583 other enquiries, recovered 2,595 exhibits and conducted 48 interviews of suspects.

Officers also trawled more than 700 hours of CCTV, tracking the movements of the defendants, pulling together the case for the prosecution.

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