Men who engineered fatal shop blast inhuman, says grieving father

A man who lost his wife and two sons in a shop explosion that killed five people has described the men who engineered the blast for an insurance payout as “inhuman”.

Jose Ragoobeer was at work when the explosion ripped through the shop beneath his family’s flat on Hinckley Road in Leicester in February last year, killing his wife Mary, 46, and his sons Shane, 18, and 17-year-old Sean.

Also among the dead was Shane’s girlfriend Leah Beth Reek, 18, and shop assistant Viktorija Ijevleva, 22,  who was working at the time.

The explosion was so powerful that neighbours initially thought a bomb had exploded, but in reality a fire had been started deliberately by owners Aram Kurd, 34,  Hawkar Hassan, 33, and 38-year-old Arkan Ali.

The three men doused the basement of the building with 60 litres of petrol mixed with barbecue fuel and white spirit, and then ignited it in a bid to net a £300,000 insurance payout.

Leicester explosion
The scene of the explosion on Hinckley Road in Leicester (Aaron Chown/PA)

All three were found guilty of murder and fraud on December 28.

Speaking to ITV News Central, Mr Ragoobeer, 59, a care worker,  described his heartbreak at watching the men who killed his family over the course of the trial.

He said: “It was very stressful and heartbreaking when you see these three people sitting in the dock without any emotion.

“They are not human, they are not human. And they don’t value the life of a human being.

“They took our loved ones and they knew that there were people living upstairs, because at the back of the shop they’d got a camera and anyone inside the shop, they will see people go in and out, so how could they say they didn’t know there were people living there?

“That makes me more angry.”

Ms Ijevleva – Arkan Ali’s girlfriend – had helped obtain the insurance policy, so her boyfriend and his co-conspirators decided she knew too much and let her die in the blast.

Mr Ragoobeer’s youngest son, Scotty, now 16, was also in the flat at the time of the explosion, but miraculously survived after being trapped under rubble.

Police and passers-by managed to pull him to safety.

Mr Ragoobeer said of his wife: “Mary was a lively woman. She always liked to go to parties. She liked having a drink and she laughed a lot but she would always care for the boys. The boys came first for her.”

He said sometimes family and friends gather around tributes laid to his wife and two sons to remember them.

“It’s very emotional and sometimes on a Saturday night you can see their friends around having a drink and sitting and chatting. You know that your sons and wife have been loved,” he said.

The three killers are due to be sentenced on January 18.

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