Case: Death of a Shopkeeper: Shammi Atwal
Victim
Name:
Shammi Atwal
Gender:
Male
Date:
2013-10-14
Nationality:
British
Weapon:
Vehicle
Killer
Name:
Vidmantas Gorskoves
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Lithuanian
Killer
Name:
Aurimas Diliunas
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Lithuanian
Killer
Name:
Debidas Sumskas
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Lithuanian
Killer
Name:
Reiniks Kivers
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Lithuanian
Killer
Name:
Edgaras Balezantis
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Lithuanian
Killer
Name:
Farhan Sheikh
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
Qatari
Killer
Name:
Ahmedshah Hatimi
Gender:
Male
Nationality:
British
Status: Solved
Categories: Robbery
Case synopsis:

Shopkeeper Shammi Atwal, 45, was hit by a lorry as he chased armed robbers from his store on the morning of 14 October 2013.

Mr Atwal and his wife Damanjeet Kaur, 37, were working at the Glen & Co Cash and Carry in River Road, Barking, when it was raided by up to ten men wielding metal bars and a sledgehammer at around 10.20am.

The gang threatened the cashiers and demanded money before confronting Mrs Kaur in her office and grabbing her by the hair. They left after taking her handbag containing £1,000 in cash.

Mr Atwal chased after the robbers and managed to grab one before being pushed in front of a moving lorry during the struggle. He suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene at 11.10am.

Between 19 October 2013 and 7 February 2014 detectives charged six suspects with manslaughter and conspiracy to commit robbery: Vidmantas Gorskoves,26 [30/6/87] of Grange Road, Plaistow,  Aurimas Diliunas, 27 [23/6/86], of Rosslyn Road, Barking, Farhan Sheikh, 38 [23/02/75] of Thornhill Gardens, Barking, Reiniks Kivers, 27 [08/12/85], of no fixed address, Deibidas Sumskas, 25 [22/8/88] of Ottley Road, Victoria Docks, and Edgaras Balezantis, 25 [2/10/88] of Tollgate road, East Ham.

They went on trial at the Old Bailey on 9 April 2014. The court heard Sheikh had bought a sledgehammer and a fencing hammer from Wickes in Barking the previous day. Sheikh and Balezantis were also seen buying gloves from B&Q in Beckton shortly before the raid.

All six men drove to the scene in a BMW X5 belonging to Sheikh and waited outside the cash and carry from 9.20am until shortly after Mr Atwal and his wife arrived.

CCTV cameras captured the gang entering the cash and carry before being chased out of the gate by staff.

Following the attack detectives recovered clothing discarded by the robbers as they made their way to the getaway car. Gloves were forensically linked to Gorskoves, Diliunas and Kivers. Mrs Atwal's blood was found on the gloves worn by Kivers.

Prosecutor David Howker QC said that all six robbers were accused of manslaughter on the basis of joint enterprise. He told jurors: 'Armed robbery is a serious and violent crime and those who take part in such an enterprise obviously are prepared to threaten and use violence to achieve their aim, which is to steal and get away without being caught.

'Each of the men in the dock, we say, was party to the plot to rob the Atwal business and each of them bears criminal responsibility for his death.'

On 13 May 2014 all six suspects were convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob. On 13 June 2014 Kivers and Sheikh were jailed for 13 years, Diliunas was jailed for 11 years and eight months and Gorskoves, Sumskas and Balezantis were jailed for 11 years and four months.

VidmantasFarhan Sheikh

Robbers (from left) Vidmantas Gorskoves, Aurimas Diliunas and Farhan Sheikh

The Common Serjeant of London, judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: "One of you pushed Mr Atwal and he went under the wheels of a passing lorry which was being driven entirely lawfully along the road by the gates of Glen & Co.

'You must all know who it was but none of you has said who it was. What you men did has had devastating and catastrophic consequences on the family who have to live with this for the rest of their lives, long after you are released from the sentences I have passed today.

'No sentence I pass today can make up for what you have done and the pain you have caused.

'None of you has shown what I regard as any genuine remorse of regret at all for taking Mr Atwal's life or for the consequences on his two small children.'

Detective Chief Inspector Neale Baldock said: “This was a violent robbery that went terribly wrong and resulted in Mr Atwal loosing his life. He died whilst trying to defend his livelihood and these callous men have showed no remorse for their actions."

In a statement Damanjeet Kaur said: "Shammi was the most loving husband and father. Since that Monday I don’t know how to cope or live anymore. My life took a 360 degree turn. We have lost the children’s father, my husband and it is very hard for me and the children.

“This is something we will live with for the rest of our life and I will see my kids grow up without their dad and I am finding that very hard to cope with. There are no words to express how we are feeling - we are just living. We miss him all the time and always will."

Edgaras BalezantisReiniks Kivers

Robbers Deibidas Sumskas, Edgaras Balezantis and Reiniks Kivers

On 28 July 2014 detectives charged Ahmed Shah Hatimi, a shop employee, aged 30 (02/02/1984) of Richmond Road, Ilford, with manslaughter and robbery.

Hatimi, who admitted conspiracy to rob, went on trial for manslaughter on 28 April 2015. The court heard he was a regular customer at the cash and carry store and acted as the 'inside man' for the robbers by feeding them information.

On 7 May 2015 Hatimi was convicted of manslaughter. The following day he was sentenced to 12 years and four months imprisonment.

Judge John Bevan, QC told him: 'I take the view that you were an important cog with a significant background role.

'I am satisfied that your unattractive role on the inside elevates you above that of the simple hired Lithuanians.

The judge added: 'There's an unattractive aspect that he went along and paid his respects to the family knowing what he knew.'

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