The mother of murdered Asfordby teenager Leah Reek has described her family’s disgust at the lack of remorse shown by the three men jailed for life today (Friday) for murdering her and four others by causing an explosion in Leicester.
Joanne Reek was speaking in the witness box at Leicester Crown Court shortly before a judge passed sentence on Aram Kurd, Arkan Ali and Hawkar Hassan for carrying out the atrocity which destroyed a Polish supermarket and the apartment above it in a bid to gain a £300,000 insurance payout.
Leah had been in the apartment at the time of the blast with boyfriend Shane Ragoobeer, who was also killed along with his mother Mary and brother Sean.
In her emotional address to the court, Mrs Reek said: “We know that nothing will ever bring Leah back.
“We’ve lost our daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend, and no conviction or prison sentence will ever match ours and the pain that we will endure forever.
“Seeing the men on trial, showing no remorse for our and the Ragoobeers’ loss, truly broke our hearts and disgusted us, showing that they have no value of human life.
“Leah would have made a difference in this world.
“She was a positive, kind, beautiful human being who was cruelly taken for no reason other than greed.
“I would finally like to say, Leah, we will always love you and the world was definitely a brighter, happier, bubblier place with you in it.
“We love you forever, until we meet again.”
A family impact statement was also provided by Jose Ragoobeer, who lost his wife and two of his sons, with another son, Scotty, miraculously surviving in the rubble.
His words were read out by prosecutor David Herbert QC, as follows: “The events of that day have changed our lives forever.
“All of our hopes and dreams for the future have been completely shattered.
“I have lost a loving wife and two sons whom I adored.
“My son Scotty, who has only recently turned 16 years of age, has lost his mother and his two brothers.
“We were both extremely close to all of them. Scotty was also close to Leah and misses her too. They were our life.”
The statement continued: “All our hopes and dreams for the future have been taken away from us by what happened on February 25, 2018.
“Mary, Shane, Sean and Leah will be greatly missed and our lives will never be the same without them.
“They were all good people and did not deserve for this to happen to them.
“They will never be forgotten and will always be remembered for the rest of our lives by both myself and Scotty, along with all of our family and friends.”
The fifth victim in the explosion was 22-year-old Viktorija Ijevleva, who was working in the shop at the time - a Polish supermarket called Zabka on Hinckley Road - and who had been implicated in the insurance conspiracy during the trial.
He mother apologised on behalf of her daughter in a statement also read out in court by Mr Herbert QC.
Natalija Ijevleva said she felt she ‘failed as a mother’ to Miss Ijevleva and that she ‘could have stopped’ her from going ahead with the fraud.
Her victim impact statement read: “I am heartbroken that she didn’t tell me because she told me everything.
“I could have stopped her from going ahead and prevented this tragedy.
“I feel I failed as a mother to protect my child.
“My thoughts again go out to the families of the four wholly innocent victims, their loss must be indescribable.
“I can only apologise on behalf of Vika, my child, who I also will never have back.”
As judge, Mr Justice Holgate, delivered the life sentences, he ordered Ali, of Oldham, and Kurd, of Leicester, to serve at least 38 years and Hassan, of Coventry, to serve at least 33 years.