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Shopkeeper tells of robber fight

A shopkeeper who fought off a gun-wielding robber using a small wooden stick has said he was simply trying to protect the woman he loved.

Kapil Vaghela, 29, and his fiancee Trisha Patel, 27, were just about to leave Kapz News and Booze, in Loughborough Road, Leicester, before heading to a restaurant when the masked raider burst in and demanded cash from the till.

Mr Vaghela said the raider, who had his face covered with a scarf and sunglasses, threatened him before firing shots at him, which turned out to be blanks.

"He said, 'Give me all your money, this is not a joke. I will kill you'," Mr Vaghela said.

"I tried my best to keep my calm even though I've never had a gun pointed at me in my life. I pressed the panic button and grabbed the stick that was next to me - we use it for bringing the shutters down - and positioned myself where I could hit the person in front of me."

He went on: "He shot the first shot; I flinched back quite badly and thought he had missed. But the second two - he couldn't have missed me and I realised they were blanks."

The masked man was "totally, totally confused" when Mr Vaghela would not give in to his demands and instead poked and nudged him with the stick, and the attacker fled the store.

Mr Vaghela played down his actions and said he acted to protect his business and, more importantly, his fiancee.

"I was not thinking about protecting myself." he said. "My fiancee was there with me and I was concerned about her. I would not call myself brave and I would not recommend this - it could have ended up a shopkeeper has been killed - but I just did it without thinking. I think most people would do that for someone they care about."

The attacker was filmed on a CCTV camera at the store and detectives have released an image of a man they wish to trace in connection with the incident. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Leicestershire Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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