Three men deliberately caused huge explosion which left five people, including Melton teenager Leah Reek, dead so they could cash in on insurance scam, court is told

COURT SKETCH: Aram Kurd, 33, Arkan Ali, 37, and Hawkar Hassan, 32. Photo: SWNS
COURT SKETCH: Aram Kurd, 33, Arkan Ali, 37, and Hawkar Hassan, 32. Photo: SWNS
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Three men deliberately caused a huge shop explosion which killed five people including Melton teenager Leah Reek in order to cash in £300,000 as part of an insurance scam, a court heard.

Store owner Aram Kurd, 33, Arkan Ali, 37, and Hawkar Hassan, 32, have gone on trial charged with murder following the devastating blast on February 25.

VICTIM: Melton's Leah Reek

VICTIM: Melton's Leah Reek

Jurors heard they caused the explosion using "many, many litres of petrol" which sent a fireball tearing through the Zabka Polish supermarket and a two-storey flat above.

Care worker Mary Ragoobeer, 46, and her two sons Shane, 18, and Sean, 17, perished in the inferno at their property on Hinckley Road, in Leicester.

Leah Beth Reek, 18, from Melton Mowbray, who was Shane's girlfriend and shop worker Viktorija Ljevleva, 22, of Oldham, were also killed.

Viktorija's partner Ali, Kurd and Hassan are also accused of manslaughter and a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud with Viktorija at Leicester Crown Court.

The scene on the night of the explosion. Photo: SWNS

The scene on the night of the explosion. Photo: SWNS

The jury was told the trio were fully aware that Viktorija would perish in the explosion but let her die anyway as "she knew too much" about their scam.

It is alleged they caused the massive blast "out of greed" so they could fork in hundreds of thousands of pounds from a bogus insurance claim.

The three men had previously claimed for loss of stock, contents and future loss of business before the explosion took place.

Opening the case, David Herbert QC, prosecuting, said: "At one minute past seven on Sunday, February 25 a massive explosion occurred at a shop in Hinckley Road, Leicester.

The devastation following the blast. Photo: SWNS

The devastation following the blast. Photo: SWNS

"It was so massive, some of the neighbours thought it was a bomb.

"It was so powerful it demolished the building and the flats above.

"Others nearby were injured - one of those who was walking by the shop at the time was gravely injured.

"It was an explosion caused by many, many litres of petrol. It was deliberate.

"It was 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.

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

"In part it boils down to greed."

The court heard Victorija was herself involved in the plot and helped the trio gain the insurance.

Mr Herbert added: "In the end they thought she knew too much and decided to get rid of her.

"The devastation they caused was great.

"They would've known people were in the flat above the shop as it was a Sunday evening.

"A mother, two of her teenage boys and a young girl visiting her boyfriend were all in the flat.

"A third child survived the blast as he was pulled out of the rubble.

"Any other rescue attempts were impossible for some time.

"It is a case of murder."

CCTV and mobile phone footage of the explosion and its aftermath was played to the jury of six men and eight women.

Family and friends of Leah and the Ragoobeers, including Mary's husband Jose, who survived the blast along with their third son Jose, watched on from the public gallery.

Kurd, of Braunstone, Leicester, Ali, of Oldham, and Hassan, of Great Yarmouth, sat in the dock accompanied by three prison guards and three Kurdish translators

They deny the charges and the trial, which is due to last five weeks, continues.