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‘Callous and deceitful’ - Three men jailed for life for explosion which killed Norfolk student

PUBLISHED: 14:44 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 18 January 2019

Victims of the fatal explosion in Leicester, including Viktoria Ljevleva. PIC: Released by Leicestishire Police.

Victims of the fatal explosion in Leicester, including Viktoria Ljevleva. PIC: Released by Leicestishire Police.

Archant

Three men have been jailed for life for the murder of a former Norwich student and four others in an explosion set up as part of a bogus insurance claim.

Emergency services at the scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester, where police have named five victims of the explosion.Emergency services at the scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester, where police have named five victims of the explosion.

Three men have been jailed for life for the murder of a former Norwich student and four others in an explosion set up as part of a bogus insurance claim.

Aram Kurd, 34 and Arkan Ali, 38, have been jailed for life with a minimum term of 38 years at Leicester Crown Court for murdering five people in a “bomb-like” shop blast after plotting to gain a £300,000 insurance pay-out.

Hawkar Hassan, 33, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 33 years for his part in the attack.

The blast on Sunday February 25 last year killed five people, including 22-year-old Viktorija Ijevleva, who studied A-levels and a business management degree at City College Norwich in 2016 and also attended Ormiston Venture Academy in Gorleston.

The scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester, after a "major incident" was declared by police after reports of an explosion at around 7.03pm, from which four people have been taken to hospital, East Midlands Ambulance Service said.The scene on Hinckley Road in Leicester, after a "major incident" was declared by police after reports of an explosion at around 7.03pm, from which four people have been taken to hospital, East Midlands Ambulance Service said.

A five-week trial was told the defendants left shop worker Viktorija Ijevleva, who was believed to be working at the shop at the time, to die in the explosion because she “knew too much” about the insurance policy taken out less than three weeks earlier.

Ms Ijevleva, Mary Ragoobeer, 46, her teenage sons Shane and Sean, and 18-year-old Leah Beth Reek, who was Shane’s girlfriend, were all killed in the blast.

The three men were unanimously convicted of five counts of murder and a further charge of conspiring with Ms Ijevleva to make a gain, by dishonestly pursuing an insurance claim in respect of the fire.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Holgate told Kurd, Ali and Hassan: “None of the defendants has shown the slightest bit of remorse for their wicked crimes. They were exceptionally callous and deceitful.

“I agree with the prosecution that it is plain beyond doubt that Kurd and Ali were both centrally involved in the planning of these crimes.

“It is plain from the way they both behaved in court and outside that they are highly manipulative and cunning individuals.”

The judge added: “The arson attack on this terraced building was exceptionally dangerous and put the lives of neighbours and other members of the public at a high level of risk. The defendants caused an exceptionally high level of harm.”

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