People fleeing the scene of the explosion

Legend

The killers lit 86 liters of gasoline in the basement of a store to benefit from a payment of £ 330,000

Three men were sentenced to Leicester Public Court for the murder of five people – including three members of the same family – who were killed in a huge explosion.

Aram Kurd, Hawkar Hassan and Arkan Ali blew up a Polish store in downtown Leicester last February, in a bid to claim a £ 300,000 insurance payment.

The men had poured a huge amount of gas into the store, knowing that the fire they were burning would be fatal.

Their actions have been described as a rare example of "white-collar crime" – insurance fraud – pushing to the extreme.

They have all been imprisoned for life – Kurdish and Ali – for a minimum of 38 years, while Hassan has to serve at least 33 years in prison.

What happened?

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Pennsylvania

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The shop and the apartment above were both destroyed in the blast

At first, it seemed like a tragic accident. There were rumors about a gas leak, and some assumed that an illegal alcohol distillery had caused the explosion.

But as the investigators gathered the evidence, something more disturbing was emerging.

The examination of the remains of the Polish supermarket, on the ground floor of the building, found that 86 liters of gasoline had been lit.

An insurance policy worth hundreds of thousands of dollars had been subscribed a few weeks before.

The police quickly realized that she was examining one of the most lethal insurance fraud cases in the UK.

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Leicestershire Police

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Mary Ragoobar and two of her sons, Shane and Sean Ragoobeer, were killed in the blast

Late on February 25 of last year, Kurd, Hassan and Ali blew up the store, planning to claim £ 300,000 from insurance.

They had taken out a policy three weeks ago and bought 26 liters of gas from a garage – an additional 60 liters would have been used by the trio.

Mary Ragoobar, 46, her sons Shane Ragoobeer, 18, and Sean, 17, who lived upstairs, and her 18-year-old girlfriend, Leah Beth Reek, were killed.

Viktorija Ijevleva, who worked in the shop at the time, also died.

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LOROS

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Shane Ragoobeer's girlfriend Leah Reek, 18, was also killed

Has anybody survived?

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PC Sophie Hooper said that her face was burning when she arrived at the hospital with the man that she had helped to save

Scotty Ragoobeer, who was 15 years old at the time, and an anonymous passerby were rescued after being removed from the rubble by police and the public.

PC Sophie Hooper, one of the first three officers on the scene, went to the building after hearing a "huge blow".

She and her colleague, PC Shaun Randall, found a man with a concrete beam covering both his legs, which they dragged to put him safe.

"At this point the fire was becoming ridiculous, it was huge, you could not stay close, it was so hot," she said.

But while she was staying with the man, PC Randall continued his search for people and discovered Scotty.

"Scotty managed to free his leg and I think Shaun was able to get in and get him out of there," she added. "If Shaun had not been there, the result could be different for Scotty."

& # 39; What luck & # 39;

Adam Wells stated that he and his girlfriend had gone out for dinner and had been ransacked on the other side of the road while they were driving within 4.5 m of the blast.

He rushed to help, hitting the rubble with his feet because the bricks were burning his hands.

For months, he dreamed of it and, if he heard something loud, he would jump.

"Sometimes I think about my luck," he says.

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The car of Adam Wells was thrown on Hinckley Road when the explosion occurred

Why murder for manslaughter?

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Leicestershire Police

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Arkan Ali, Hawkar Hassan and Aram Kurd have been convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Originally, the Crown Prosecution Service could not prove that the men had the intent to kill anyone and they were charged with manslaughter.

But the case began to accumulate.

Investigators have learned that Ms. Ijevleva, a 22-year-old shop assistant, only started working the previous day, but she was dating Ali and was seen on CCTV traveling with him to take out a police policy. ;insurance.

The detectives began to believe that a conspiracy had been developed to set the store on fire and claim insurance.

But CCTV, forensic investigations, telephone records and the huge amount of fuel used suggested that the conspirators had decided that the fire was lethal.

"There must have been 60 liters at the time of the explosion, in addition to the 26 liters brought to the store the day before," said Janine Smith, chief crown attorney for the East Midlands.

"What told us is that massive amounts of fuel were used, far more than would have been necessary to just light a fire in a shop."

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Leicestershire Police

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Viktorija Ijevleva, worker in a shop, died in the blast

The motive for the murder of Ms. Ijevleva? Because she "knew too much".

The trial learned that during his pre-trial detention, Kurd confessed to a detained comradesaying that he had not wanted to share the money with Mrs. Ijevleva and that the insurance company would pay more if people had died.

The SPC stated that it was proven that the three men knew that there were people on the floor who had nothing to do with their plan, but that they would be sacrificed for this.

On December 28, a jury convicted them of five counts of murder and sentenced them on Friday.

"The loss of innocent lives for the sake of financial gain is particularly painful," Smith said.

"You are talking about a store that did not earn a lot of money and that could have had a few hundred thousand, that is awful."

An unprecedented crime?

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Criminology expert calls explosion "extreme case" of "white-collar crime"

Craig Kelly, a professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, told the BBC that he was convinced that it was a rare example of "white collar crime" pushed to l & # 39; extreme.

"White collar crimes are things like fraud and sneaky behind-the-scenes transactions," he said.

"This is a very extreme case … and quite odious.

"As far as we know, this is the first mass murder in the UK, which was caused by an explosive device for profit."

Mohammed Rahman, senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Nottingham Trent, said the killers were so motivated by money that they would not have regarded the deaths as anything other than "Collateral damage" in their search for profit.

He said: "Cases of insurance fraud are not uncommon, but those that resulted in a murder are quite rare.It is one of the largest ever committed to the 39, nationally.

"For this reason, the case will be considered an iconic" crime-signal, "a tragic event that will shape the public's perception of insurance fraud for many years to come."

Kurd tried to hide his involvement in the explosion by addressing reporters – including the BBC – following the blast.

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Media captionShop owner: "I saw fire from everywhere, as if I were in hell"Ms. Smith from the CPS stated that Kurd's interviews with reporters showed similarities with Mick Philpott, convicted of murdering six of his children in a fire at Derby in 2012, and Ian Huntley, who murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, a 10-year-old girl in Cambridgeshire, in 2002.

She said, "This is not uncommon, is not it, if you think back to the Philpotts and this press conference?"

"Once [the facts] had been established (…), they revealed a clear intention to cause immediate or even catastrophic damage. "

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Mick and Mairead Philpott had clashed with the media at a press conference – apparently grieved

"Every day I cry"

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Jon and Jo Reek say that they hope "colors will come back" in their lives

The families of the victims were horrified at the thought that someone could kill their loved ones for money.

Jose Ragoobeer, who lost his wife and sons in the blast, said: "It's the first time in my life that I have hatred in my heart.

"I'm angry – since we arrived in England, we work all the time twice for our children and they [the killers] I just wanted to make money easy.

"The sentence is a relief but we will not get it back."

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Jose Ragoobeer said he was supported by family and friends

Jon Reek, Leah's father, said, "I can not believe their mentality.This was for £ 300,000, I could have remortel the house and give it to them."

Jo Reek, Leah's mother, said, "They had no thought for human life, it was obviously cheap for them." I tried to look at them and see an element. of sorrow, but there was nothing at all – the eyes totally dead. "

In the midst of the tragedy, the family's relationship with Mr. Ragobeer flourished. They recently invited him home for Christmas dinner, so as not to spend it alone. Scotty spent Christmas with relatives in Mauritius.

"We've all been there," said Reek. "It's a link that no one knows how we feel.

"He's such a nice man, we're bound for life now, he's stuck with us, and Scotty too, we'll always fight for him."

Mr. Ragobeer added, "They are very good friends, it will help you not to feel alone, you know that there are people around you who will support you."

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