Men murdered former Norwich student in blast because she ‘knew too much’, court told

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

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

A former Norwich student was murdered because she 'knew too much' about a bogus £300,000 insurance claim, a court has heard.

Viktorija Ijeveva was one of five people killed in a shop blast in Leicester in February this year when Arkan Ali, Hawkar Hassan and Aram Kurd allegedly doused the shop in 'many, many litres of petrol' before setting the premises alight.

Leicester Crown Court heard how some in the neighbourhood near the Polish supermarket on Hinckley Road, Leicester, thought a bomb had exploded.

The prosecution said the trio destroyed the shop and the contents to gain an insurance payout of about £300,000, which 'boils down to greed'. The jury also heard that the defendants intentionally 'left [Ms Ijevleva] to die' in the explosion and fire which was started in the basement of the building.

Ms Ijevleva studied A-levels and completed a business management degree at City College Norwich, and ended up with a 2:1 in Business Management Accounting and Finance BA Hons degree in 2016.

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Opening the case, David Herbert QC told a jury the defendants intended to maximise the damage to the premises and 'would have known' people were in the two-storey flat above.

Ali, 37, Hassan, 33, and Kurd, 34, pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder and five alternative counts of manslaughter at a previous hearing.

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They also denied conspiring with 22-year-old Ms Ijevleva to make a gain, by dishonestly pursuing an insurance claim in respect of a fire at the shop.

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

The court was told about the involvement of Ms Ijevleva in the alleged insurance scam. Mr Herbert said: 'One of those who died, Viktorija Ijevleva, had assisted the defendants to obtain insurance. The defendants thought she knew too much and decided to leave her to die in the explosion that they created. In other words, the devastation that they caused was carried out with the intention to kill.'

Ali, of Drake Close, Oldham, Hassan, of Eld Road, Coventry, and Kurd, of Hillary Place, Leicester, deny all 11 charges against them.

The trial, listed for six weeks, continues.

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