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Friends deny involvement in robbery.

Byline: PHILIP DEWEY Reporter philip.dewey@walesonline.co.uk

FRIENDS have denied their involvement in an armed robbery in a Cardiff shop despite one of them lying in his police interviews.

Leban Osman, 19, and Fuaad Musa, 20, are facing trial at Cardiff Crown Court in relation to a robbery at Arora Cash Stores in Atlas Road, Canton, at around 8.10pm on Friday, May 12, last year.

Their co-defendants and friends Mohammed Rahman and Ahmed Mohamed have pleaded guilty to the offence but Osman and Musa claim the robbery was carried out without their prior knowledge.

The court previously heard a "gang" with knives and a baseball bat left shop owner Ashok Arora, who is in his 60s, shaken after grabbing PS600 from his till.

While it was admitted by Rahman and Mohamed they were the two men who carried out the robbery in the store the prosecution say Musa acted as the getaway driver and Osman acted as a lookout while remaining in a car nearby, which both defendants deny.

On the second day of the trial yesterday police interviews from both Osman and Musa were read out to the court.

Musa claimed he took Osman, Rahman and Mohamed to the shop after they had been playing football because they wanted something to eat. The defendant claimed he only became aware a robbery had taken place shortly before his arrest.

Describing the moment Rahman and Mohamed got into his car after visiting the shop, Musa said: "They said: 'Let's go we're being chased.' .' At that moment you don't have much time to think and you don't know who's going to the car.

"It's only after we made it to Cowbridge Road East I turned round to ask them what was going on, at which point I saw the knives and the money.

"I didn't directly question them. I was in a state of shock so I continued down Cowbridge Road East towards Western Avenue."

Musa said as his Fiat Punto was followed by police vehicles Mohamed told him to drive faster and tried to throw the knives out of the window but he stopped the car and pulled over.

During his cross-examination of Musa, who gave evidence yesterday, prosecutor John Warren asked him: "Was it the fact that two of your friends owed a debt and that's why they committed the robbery? I am suggesting you helped your friends with the robbery to help them pay off the debt. The part you played in this robbery was the driver and the lookout and you received PS20 for your services."

Musa said: "That's not correct." During his police interview, Osman was not represented and spoke to the investigating officer for 45 minutes before changing his story.

He said: "I'm not going to lie anymore, I'm going to tell the truth."

The defendant said when Mohamed was first picked up he said "I feel like finessing a shop", which Osman described as "a way people from Grangetown say stealing".

He claimed he thought Mohamed was joking and was not making a serious comment but he became suspicious when Mohamed and Rahman got back in the car after visiting the shop.

In his cross-examination of Osman, who also gave evidence, Mr Warren said: "You knew they were planning a robbery, didn't you, and you knew they had disguises and knives? You were the lookout and you were rewarded for it."

Osman said: "That's not the case, no." Rahman, 19, from Court Road, and Mohamed, 20, from York Place, both in Grangetown, admit robbery.

Osman, 19, from Hafod Street, Grangetown denies the charge.

Musa, 20, from Wellington Street, Grangetown, also denies robbery.

The trial continues.

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Leban Osman and Fuaad Musa WALES NEWS SERVICE
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 17, 2018
Words:623
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