Fam­ily pays trib­ute to their ‘in­spi­ra­tional young lady’

Three men are found guilty of Leah’s mur­der

Loughborough Echo - - LETTERS - DAVID GODSALL [email protected]­plc.com

THE fam­ily of Lough­bor­ough stu­dent Leah Reek, who was killed in an ex­plo­sion in Le­ices­ter, have paid trib­ute to her mem­ory fol­low­ing the con­vic­tion of three men for her mur­der.

Shop­keeper Aram Kurd con­spired with as­so­ciates Arkan Ali and Hawkar Has­san to set fire to the Zabka su­per­mar­ket in Le­ices­ter’s Hinck­ley Road, us­ing 60 litres of petrol mixed with other flammable liq­uids they had sprayed all over the base­ment.

They hoped to claim up to £300,000 on an over­in­flated in­sur­ance pol­icy. In the ex­plo­sion and fire which fol­lowed, five peo­ple died, four of whom were in the flat above the su­per­mar­ket on the even­ing of Sun­day, Fe­bru­ary 25, 2018, when the build­ing ex­ploded.

All three men were found guilty by a jury at Le­ices­ter Crown Court of mur­der­ing Mary Ra­goobeer, her sons Shane and Sean, and Shane’s girl­friend Leah Reek in the blaze and ex­plo­sion.

Kurd, 34, of Hil­lary Place, Braun­stone, Ali, 38, of Drake Close, Old­ham, and Has­san, 33, of Eld Road, Coven­try, were also found guilty of mur­der­ing fel­low plot­ter and Ali’s girl­friend Vik­torija Ijevl­eva, 22, who had been part of the con­spir­acy to de­stroy the build­ing and who was in the su­per­mar­ket at the time.

All three were also con­victed of con­spir­ing to­gether, and with Ijevl­eva, to com­mit in­sur­ance fraud, in Has­san’s case by a ma­jor­ity ver­dict.

They will be sen­tenced on Jan­uary 18.

Leah was study­ing health and so­cial care at Lough­bor­ough Col­lege. Her par­ents, Jo and John, and sis­ter Molly, said: “Where do we be­gin?

“We have been asked to try and ex­plain the im­pact on our lives af­ter los­ing Leah in such hor­rific cir­cum­stances. The light went out of our world on that ter­ri­ble night, no par­ent should ever have to ar­range a funeral for their child. It is so dif­fi­cult to put into words how much we miss Leah. She was an amaz­ing in­spi­ra­tional young lady who had only turned 18 last July. She was just start­ing out on her life ad­ven­ture.

“In her 18 too short but won­der­ful years, she made a last­ing im­pres­sion on every­one lucky enough to know her. She was beau­ti­ful in­side and out and she truly shone when she en­tered a room.

“She was never aware of the im­pact she had on so many peo­ple just by smil­ing at them. We will al­ways miss that smile, her laugh­ter and those beau­ti­ful curls. She had such a mis­chievous sense of hu­mour and could al­ways find some­thing to laugh about. Her happy out­look on life was con­ta­gious.

“She was so ex­cited to be start­ing her univer­sity course in Septem­ber af­ter re­ceiv­ing an un­con­di­tional of­fer for Adult Nurs­ing. She was proud and happy that she had found a vo­ca­tion that suited her car­ing and com­pas­sion­ate ways. She vol­un­teered at LOROS and was de­ter­mined to be­come a pal­lia­tive care nurse.

“We used to joke that we would have ‘Leah’ lessons upon her re­turn from the hospice which in­spired her so much. She told us about how im­por­tant it was to face death. Ev­ery­body dies she said, you just have to make it the best jour­ney you can for the pa­tients and fam­i­lies. She even tried to ex­plain to us about grief, how the colour goes out of life for a while and even­tu­ally re­turns. Well, the colour and Leah’s bright light has cer­tainly left our world.

“Leah was very aware of oth­ers and in­sisted on join­ing the fam­ily in giv­ing blood as soon as she was able. She also car­ried an or­gan do­na­tion card. We were all so proud of our pre­cious girl. She was such a kind girl who had a wide var­ied cir­cle of friends. She was al­ways ready to lis­ten and give her very hon­est opin­ion - a trait which we so ad­mired. She was al­ways true to her­self and was a great judge of char­ac­ter, even if it meant some­times not go­ing with the easy op­tion. She had a strong sense of right and wrong and a knack of reach­ing out to peo­ple if she saw them strug­gling or alone. She was wise be­yond her years and could talk to any­one, mak­ing them feel at ease and com­fort­able. She was a to­tal one off who had charisma and an en­thu­si­asm for life.

“We miss her ter­ri­bly, ev­ery se­cond of ev­ery day we carry the pain of los­ing Leah. She has left a Leah shaped hole in our hearts that noth­ing will ever fill. She was too spe­cial for any­one that didn’t know her to fully un­der­stand the im­pact her death has had on so many. We are bro­ken. She sim­ply stood out. We feel empty and des­per­ately sad that we have been robbed of such a free spirit who loved wear­ing her leop­ard clothes. She was a typ­i­cal teenager liv­ing and lov­ing her life as she should have done.

“We know Leah wor­shipped Shane and they adored each other when they were taken from this world. We are so grate­ful to the Ra­goobeer fam­ily for mak­ing Leah so wel­come, she loved be­ing there and know­ing she was al­ways happy there, gives us some com­fort.

“Leah’s death has not just left us heart­bro­ken, but it has had such a rip­ple ef­fect on so many; friends, fam­ily and the Ra­goobeers. Our vil­lage As­fordby and lo­cal town Mel­ton Mow­bray have given us such amaz­ing sup­port and shown such kind­ness in our dark time. We are truly grate­ful.

“Leah was a very rare find, a gen­uine di­a­mond who shone so brightly and made such a dif­fer­ence in so­ci­ety. It makes us an­gry and breaks our heart that we will never get the chance to see Leah reach her true po­ten­tial in life. We will never see her proudly grad­u­ate to be­come a nurse or fol­low her dreams, get mar­ried or have chil­dren. All of this has been taken away from us and Leah.

“We only have our pre­cious happy mem­o­ries which no one can ever take away from us. We feel truly blessed that Leah left us with an amaz­ing legacy of love which we will trea­sure. We will try to make her proud un­til we meet with her again.

“Leah, we will al­ways love you and the world was def­i­nitely a brighter, hap­pier place with you in it. Love you for­ever, Mum, Dad, Mol and the fam­ily cir­cle xxx.”

Leah Reek with her boyfriend Shane Ra­goobeer, who both died in the ex­plo­sion in Hinck­ley Road, Le­ices­ter, last year.

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