Cheam Widow fears for future as Morden Ladbrokes manager Andrew Iacovou's killer Shafique Aarij gets life sentence

Wimbledon Guardian: Shafique Aarij Shafique Aarij

A killer who left a disabled woman without her husband and an autisic boy without a dad has been jailed for life.

"Cool, calm and collected" killer Shafique Ahmad Aarij has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years for the murder of North Cheam man Andrew Iacovou at the Morden branch of Ladbrokes where he worked last May.

Wimbledon Guardian: Aarij on CCTV as he left the betting shop with blood on his face

A blood-splattered Aarij was caught leaving the Aberconway Road betting shop on CCTV

But Mr Iacovou's disabled wife Anita said she has been left not knowing how her family will cope in future if her condition worsens.

Homeless gambling addict Aarij, 22, went to the Aberconway Road branch of Ladbrokes with the intention of robbing it just before 8.30am on May 25 last year. Once inside he used a technique he practised the previous evening to lure Mr Iacovou, 55, out from the secure area behind the counter.

Once Mr Iacovou, of Church Hill Road, opened the door to the staff area Aarij burst in and attacked him, demanding money. When Mr Iacovou refused to hand over the cash, Aarij repeatedly hit him over the head with a claw hammer. During the frenzied attack Aarij landed up to eight blows in just 12 seconds.

Despite pressing the panic alarm, Mr Iacovou was left to die behind the counter in the shop to be found by a customer almost two hours later.

During this time Aarij, who came to the UK from Pakistan in 2012, fled on public transport, first by getting a bus to Hackbridge and then to Tooting where he wired some of the £300 he stole to Pakistan before heading to Stratford in east London. He was arrested after boarding a bus heading towards Ilford on May 30.

He admitted going to the betting shop armed with a decorator's knife and a hammer and said he attacked Mr Iacovou but was "not in his senses" at the time. He denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but a jury took just 45 minutes to find him guilty after a trial at Southwark Crown Court last year.

CCTV showing Aarij making his getaway on buses, transferring the money to Pakistan and then buying a phonecard in Startford

Aarij was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court this morning. During the hearing the court heard a statement from Mr Iacovou wife, Anita. She said: "In the last seven years I have been disabled by a crippling illness which took away my mobility so Andrew gradually became my carer.

"My children Aryan, 10, and Rhitik, 14, miss all the things that their daddy did, like being picked up by him from school or being taken to the café. For them too life has changed. Rhitik is autistic and his world is completely upside down. Since his dad died he questions why someone would do this. He has become frightened of going outside and he doesn't want to leave the flat and struggles to cross the road or even catch a bus. He thinks someone will hurt him if he goes outside.

"I've watched his world get smaller and smaller in the last few months, he feels so unsafe in the world now. Andrew hoped that Rhitik would go to university but at the moment he can't even cross the road. That goal now seems a very long way off.

"For me the greatest fear is what will happen to the children if something happens to me and I end up in hospital, there is no one left to look after them."

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Leonard described Aarij as "cool, calm and collected" and added: "Having run out of money, you went somewhere where you had lost money to take it back."

Wimbledon Guardian:

Flowers left outside the mshop where Mr Iacovou was killed, which remains closed to this day

The judge said he acknowledged Aarij had some sort of "mental disturbance" but because he refused to allow his own psychiatrists to talk to his family in Pakistan to find out about treatment he received in his home country, it was hard to take it into account.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Sergeant Eric Sword, of the homicide and major crime command, said: "This was an incredibly violent and unprovoked attack on a hard-working father-of-two - the level of violence was completely disproportionate to what the suspect sought to achieve which was robbing the shop.

"An initial hammer blow knocked the victim to the floor but Aarij continued to swing the weapon another eight times. He then calmly stepped over his victim in the hunt for cash.

"It is only right that Aarij will now serve many years behind bars."

Following Mr Iacovou's death, the Sutton Guardian set up the SafeBet campaign calling on the betting industry to improve conditions for its workers by ending the policy of single manning and making sure security measures like panic alarms and CCTV are monitored.

To show your support visit click here.

Comments (10)

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12:28pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Surreydon says...

This vile creature should not be drawing breath let alone be eligible for parole at some future date. I feel so very sad for the family.
This country has become a haven for vermin like Aarij.
This vile creature should not be drawing breath let alone be eligible for parole at some future date. I feel so very sad for the family. This country has become a haven for vermin like Aarij. Surreydon

1:06pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Bum face says...

Hope he rots in the deepest darkest hell ... Pure scum ... But let's face it we all know that this guy won't do any hard time just an extended holiday it's a joke !!!! Rip to the poor man who was killed ...
Hope he rots in the deepest darkest hell ... Pure scum ... But let's face it we all know that this guy won't do any hard time just an extended holiday it's a joke !!!! Rip to the poor man who was killed ... Bum face

1:31pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Liberals are deluded says...

Vile and despicable ... He has now destroyed someone's family. Next question... What on earth was he doing here? What is his background? Was he claiming benefits as well as gambling all week? Who knows the answers to these questions? JUST LIKE I DO NOT LET ANY OLD PERSON WALK THROUGH MY FRONT DOOR INTO MY HOUSE I EXPECT THE SAME WITH MY COUNTRYS BORDERS.
Vile and despicable ... He has now destroyed someone's family. Next question... What on earth was he doing here? What is his background? Was he claiming benefits as well as gambling all week? Who knows the answers to these questions? JUST LIKE I DO NOT LET ANY OLD PERSON WALK THROUGH MY FRONT DOOR INTO MY HOUSE I EXPECT THE SAME WITH MY COUNTRYS BORDERS. Liberals are deluded

2:15pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Paulatry says...

No good piece of scum. He should be sent back to where he comes from. Why should we now pay for him to stay in prison over here. Dirty piece of ----
No good piece of scum. He should be sent back to where he comes from. Why should we now pay for him to stay in prison over here. Dirty piece of ---- Paulatry

2:26pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Deserves a Darlek sentence, Ex---terminate!!!
Deserves a Darlek sentence, Ex---terminate!!! Michael Pantlin

3:49pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Niki R says...

Wouldn't it be right if Ladbrokes supported this lady and her family for the rest of her life by way of reparation for having her husband work alone, putting him at risk and in harm's way?
Wouldn't it be right if Ladbrokes supported this lady and her family for the rest of her life by way of reparation for having her husband work alone, putting him at risk and in harm's way? Niki R

5:50pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Binsanity says...

Why is he not sent back to Pakistan to serve his paltry sentence. We have to pay for his cushy time in jail, madness.....
Why is he not sent back to Pakistan to serve his paltry sentence. We have to pay for his cushy time in jail, madness..... Binsanity

11:26am Tue 14 Jan 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Niki R wrote:
Wouldn't it be right if Ladbrokes supported this lady and her family for the rest of her life by way of reparation for having her husband work alone, putting him at risk and in harm's way?
Absolutely, spot on. Is there some kind legal practice who would take on a claim against Ladbrokes, on behalf of this family? Compared to the profits that Ladbroke's make each year, they would not even notice it. But the family would. Nothing will replace the loss of their Husband & Father, but they must be helped to live, especially with Mrs Iacovou's medical needs.
Ladbroke's gilt over this awful incident is so evident by the fact that it kept the Morden shop closed so long.
[quote][p][bold]Niki R[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't it be right if Ladbrokes supported this lady and her family for the rest of her life by way of reparation for having her husband work alone, putting him at risk and in harm's way?[/p][/quote]Absolutely, spot on. Is there some kind legal practice who would take on a claim against Ladbrokes, on behalf of this family? Compared to the profits that Ladbroke's make each year, they would not even notice it. But the family would. Nothing will replace the loss of their Husband & Father, but they must be helped to live, especially with Mrs Iacovou's medical needs. Ladbroke's gilt over this awful incident is so evident by the fact that it kept the Morden shop closed so long. Hove Ex-Pat

11:42am Tue 14 Jan 14

bellboy007 says...

Disgusting piece of ****. I hope his time in prison is as horrible as possible and he gets torn a new one.
and a great idea by a previous poster for ladbrokes to support the family. The original story brought a lump to my throat, the poor soul lay dying for an hour, having pressed the alarm for no one to respond. Someone HAS to be responsible for that and it should be followed up.
Disgusting piece of ****. I hope his time in prison is as horrible as possible and he gets torn a new one. and a great idea by a previous poster for ladbrokes to support the family. The original story brought a lump to my throat, the poor soul lay dying for an hour, having pressed the alarm for no one to respond. Someone HAS to be responsible for that and it should be followed up. bellboy007

12:10pm Tue 14 Jan 14

trasie says...

I only have one question, why was there no response when he hit the panic button. A customer found him 2 hours later. Maybe if the panic alarm had been answered sooner, he may well still be here. RIP Mr Lacovou.
I only have one question, why was there no response when he hit the panic button. A customer found him 2 hours later. Maybe if the panic alarm had been answered sooner, he may well still be here. RIP Mr Lacovou. trasie

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