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13 June 2014, 12:47
A gang responsible for the death of a man from Chigwell, who was killed as he tried to defend his business during a robbery have been sentenced to a total of more than 71 years.
Six men were previously found guilty of the manslaughter of Shammi Atwal, 45, and conspiracy to commit robbery at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 13 May 2014.
Vidmantas Gorskoves, 26 (30.06.87) of Grange Road E13, sentenced to a total of 11 years and four months.
Aurimas Diliunas, 27 (23.06.86) of Rosslyn Road, IG11, sentenced to a total of 11 years 8 months.
Farhan Sheikh, 39 (23.02.75) of Thornhill Gardens, IG11, sentenced to a total of 13 years.
Deibidas Sumskas, 25 (22.08.88) of Ottley Road, E16, sentenced to a total of 11 years and 4 months.
Reiniks Kivers, 28 (08.12.85) of no fixed abode, sentenced to a total of 13 years.
Edgaras Balezantis, 25 (02.10.88) of Tollgate Road, E6, sentenced to a total of 11 years and four months.
Detective Chief Inspector Neale Baldock said after sentencing; “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.
“I am pleased with the sentences that have been handed down today as they reflect the true nature of the offence.
“Now that the trial process has come to a conclusion and a successful conviction achieved I can only hope that today’s sentences can, in some small way, assist Mr Atwal’s family in coming to terms with this tragic and needless loss.”
The court heard how on Monday, 14 October 2013 at approximately 09:20hrs a black BMW X5 parked opposite Mr Atwal’s cash and carry business Glenn & CO, on River Road, Barking. The vehicle remained outside the premises and waited for the security dogs to be taken for their daily walk before leaving moments later.
At around 10:15hrs Mr Atwal and his wife Mrs Atwal arrived at the business. They were inside the premises for a short while when a BMW 5 Series entered the compound and the six men got out of the vehicle storming their way inside the cash and carry.
Armed with an array of weapons including sledgehammers and metal bars the gang smashed their way through several doors charging at the cahiers as they threatened them and demanded they hand over any cash.
Mrs Kaur was sitting in her office at the time of the robbery and watched as the six men entered the premises, with a number of them then entering her office. One of the gang members grabbed her by her hair and threatened her with a metal rod. A second man took Mrs Kaur’s handbag from the windowsill, which contained a number of items including £1,000 in cash.
A third man entered the office and demanded to know where the money was kept. After the three had searched the office for any further cash they left.
Mr Atwal and a number of his staff who were working in officers situated in portacabins behind the warehouse were alerted to the robbery on hearing shouts for help from customers within the premises.
Mr Atwal and his staff left the portacabin and rushed into the main warehouse entrance. As Mr Atwal and his staff reached the warehouse, the gang came running out with one of them still in possession of Mrs Atwal’s handbag and they made their way to the main gate.
A Glenn & Co delivery driver approached one of the fleeing robbers and in an attempt to apprehend him he punched him in his torso. This failed to stop him and the robber made his escape along with the others along River Road.
Mr Atwal pursued the robbers and managed to grab hold of one of them. A struggled ensued which caused the robber to push Mr Atwal who fell into the road and into the path of an on coming lorry which was unable to stop in time.
Police and London Ambulance Service were called and whilst awaiting their arrival Mr Atwal was tended to by his distraught wife and members of his staff. Upon arrival of the emergency services Mr Atwal was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination took place on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 at Queens Hospital and gave the cause of death as multiple injuries as a result of being run over by the lorry.
As the gang made good their escape they discarded a number of their weapons and gloves along their escape route before being picked up in the getaway vehicle in Ratford Way. The items which had been discarded close to the scene and in a bin were later recovered by police and sent off for forensic examination.
The gloves were later forensically linked to Gorskoves, Diliunas and Kivers. The gloves Kivers wore were the ones recovered from the bin and had Mrs Atwal’s blood on them.
Whilst conducting their investigation detectives established that on Sunday 13, October 2013 Sheikh attended the Wickes DIY store in Hertford Road, Barking. There he purchased a sledgehammer and a fencing hammer.
On the day of the robbery Sheikh was accompanied by Balezantis to B&Q in Beckton. Both were captured on CCTV entering the store where Sheikh purchased a pair of gloves. The two were then seen leaving the store a short while later.
Further investigations revealed that the BMW 5 series used in the robbery belonged to Sheikh and on the day of the incident had stolen registration plates which had been taken from a vehicle outside residential property overnight between the 13-14 October 2013.
Gorskoves and Diliunas were arrested on Friday, 18 October 2013 and both charged the following day. Sheikh was arrested on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 and charged the following day. Kivers was arrested on 18 November 2013 and charged on the same day.
Sumskas was arrested on 23 October 2013 and Balezantis on 10 December 2013, both were bailed pending further enquiries and later charged on 6 February 2014.
A statement on behalf of Mrs Damanjeet Kaur - Mr Atwal’s wife, read; "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".