Shortly after 7pm, on 25 February 2018, a massive explosion ripped through a shop and apartment, causing widespread destruction and panic. Leicester police declared a major incident, closing off nearby streets. At the time of the devastating explosion, Mary Ragoobar, her sons Shane and Sean and Shane’s girlfriend Leah Reek were in the flat above the shop. Shopworker Viktorija Ijevleva was also in the building at the time. All five were killed, as the devasting explosion reduced the building to rubble. Initially, police suspected that a gas leak had caused the explosion, as firefighters battled for an hour to bring the inferno under control. Other early reports, which were uncorroborated, posited that an illegal alcohol distillery caused the massive explosion which claimed the lives of five people. A joint investigation by the police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service was launched immediately.
Shortly after the blast, three men were arrested, including the owner of the shop. Arkan Ali, 38, Hawkar Hassan, 33, and Aram Kurd, 34, were arrested on suspicion of murder and manslaughter. However, it wasn’t until the trial that the motives behind the heinous crime which ravaged an entire family came to light. A court heard that three weeks prior to the explosion, Ali, Hassan and Kurd Kurd has conspired with shopworker and one of the victims of the blast, Viktorija Ijevleva, to commit an insurance scam. An insurance policy worth £300,000 was taken out for the shop, which the defendants had sought to claim. With co-conspirator Ijevlev deemed by the gang ‘to know too much’, they had left her to die in the inferno. The court heard how the gang sought to change CCTV camera angles and carried out the plot in order to claim the £300,000 insurance. At a trial in December 2018, all three were charged with five counts of murder and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.