Bravery of Leicester shopkeeper recognised at awards ceremony
Main article content
The bravery of a local shop owner who was the victim of an attempted Christmas Eve robbery was commended at the Chief Constable’s Award Ceremony on Thursday 3 October.
Sibu Kuruvilla and his colleague Najeeb Nazeer were preparing to close their Evington convenience store on 24 December 2017 when 18 year old Ayoub Tarey entered the shop brandishing what they believed to be a firearm and demanded money from the till. The pair managed to remain calm and activate the shops panic alarm after Najeeb was forced behind the counter to hand money over.
Although Sibu is smaller in stature than Tarey he bravely decided to use his martial arts skills to disarm him when he began to suspect the gun was fake. He managed to knock it out of his hands where it shattered on the floor.
Sibu and Najeeb worked together when, after a struggle, they managed to apprehend Tarey. Sibu’s two young daughters were in the office at the back of the shop and witnessed what was going on via CCTV. One of the girls was brave enough to pass the phone to her father to ring the police when they had detained Tarey.
Tarey was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison at Leicester Crown Court in June 2018.
Ten other offences which Tarey admitted to in interview were taken into consideration by the judge when he passed sentence. These offences related to four robberies and an attempted robbery at various stores in the force area and five counts of possession of an imitation firearm.
Detective Constable Nick Lant was the investigating officer. He said, “Tarey is a prolific criminal, who at such a young age, committed a series of serious crimes. He was detained at the scene of the last of those crimes and I would like to commend the bravery of the victims who detained him.
“Tarey was left with little option other than to plead guilty, but I would like to credit him for fully admitting the other offences and thereby bringing closure to those further victims and witnesses.
“Crimes such as this have a knock-on effect on the local community, who, I know were concerned about the nature of offending. We hope this conviction and sentence reassures them that we will leave no stone unturned to bring people to justice.”
Sibu attended the award ceremony at the Athena in Leicester alongside police officers, volunteers, PSCO’s and staff. Upon receiving his award he said “I did what I did to protect my family and my livelihood. We opened the shop as usual the morning after the attack, it was Christmas Day - I run a community store and people needed us to be open.
“The police did an excellent job collecting evidence from the shop, we were relieved with the prison sentence Tarey was given and I hope that by being in prison he has had time to reflect on what he did and his learned the error of his ways.
“I am honoured to have been invited to attend this ceremony to collect my award.”