Seven men jailed for more than 200 years for murder of Lancashire law student Aya Hachem in bungled drive-by shooting

Seven men have been jailed for life for the murder of a Lancashire law student who was mistakenly gunned down in a botched drive-by shooting.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 3:14 pm

A gunman, driver and business owner, who were part of a group who planned and executed a shooting which killed Aya Hachem, 19, from Blackburn are amongst seven people who have been jailed for more than 200 years today (Thursday, August 5) for their involvement in her murder.

Today's sentencing follows a twelve-week trial at Preston Crown Court, which also saw the defendants each sentenced for the attempted murder of their intended target, rival businessman Pacha Khan, also from Blackburn.

The group have been handed sentences which will run concurrently with a total jail term of 216 years between them.

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Aya Hachem, 19, dreamed of becoming a solicitor and had fled from violence in her native Lebanon as a child to settle with her family in Blackburn, Lancashire. But the 19-year-old was shot in King Street, Blackburn on May 17 last year while on a trip to a nearby supermarket to buy food for her family's Ramadan feast that evening

How was Aya Hachem killed?

Blackburn tyre firm boss Feroz Suleman, 40, arranged the execution of a rival businessman in broad daylight but the gunman he hired mistakenly shot 19-year-old Aya Hachem, who was an innocent passer-by.

Miss Hachem, 19, dreamed of becoming a solicitor and had fled violence in her native Lebanon as a child to settle with her family in Blackburn, Lancashire.

But the 19-year-old was shot in King Street, Blackburn on May 17 last year while on a trip to a nearby supermarket to buy food ready for her family's Ramadan feast that evening.

Aya Hachem, 19, died in hospital after a bullet pierced her left shoulder, passing through her body and causing catastrophic internal injuries

She died in hospital after a bullet pierced her left shoulder, passing through her body and causing catastrophic injury. The bullet was later found embedded in a telegraph pole.

Today at Preston Crown Court, her grieving parents paid tribute to their daughter - "a shining star in our lives" - and told the court of their anguish following her violent death.

"They have taken a piece of my soul and killed my dreams and crushed them into pieces," said Aya's heartbroken mother.

"The day of her murder I sent her to buy groceries during Ramadan. How can I live with myself and the guilt I feel?

"Not knowing that day I would never see her beautiful smile or hear her warm laughter ever again?"

You can read the family's full statement and heartbreaking tribute to their daughter here.

Sentencing today, Mr Justice Turner told Blackburn businessman Suleman: “You were the driving force behind the whole deadly enterprise from beginning to end and followed through this plan with obsessive determination.

"When you were in prison you commented to Abubakr Satia you were the captain of the ship and if you were to go down then everyone would down with you. How right you were."

Suleman, of Shear Brow, Blackburn, has been jailed for a minimum of 34 years and cannot be considered for parole whilst serving his minimum sentence.

The killer gunman, Zamir Raja, 33, of Davyhulme Road, Stretford, was jailed for a minimum of 34 years and his driver accomplice, Anthony Ennis, 31, of Grasmere Court, Partington, must serve at least 33 years.

The three men, along with four accomplies, were also convicted of the attempted murder of Pacha Khan. Their sentences for his attempted murder will run concurrently alongside the sentences handed out for the murder of Miss Hachem.

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The following men have been sentenced to life in prison:

- Feroz Suleman, 40, of Shear Brow, Blackburn was sentenced to 34 years. He instigated and organised the hit. He was also handed 28 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Zamir Raj, 33, of Davyhulme Road, Stretford, Manchester was given 34 years. He was responsible for sourcing and transporting the firearm used in the shooting, as well as firing the shots. He was also handed 28 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Anthony Ennis, 31, of Grasmere Court, Partington was sentenced to 33 years. He drove the Avensis carrying the gunman during the shooting. He was also handed 27 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Ayaz Hussain, 35, of Calgary Avenue, Blackburn was given 32 years. He was the link between the Lancashire offenders and Zamir Raja and Anthony Ennis, based in Manchester. He played a key role in organising and orchestrating the shooting and was in company of Abubakr Satia when petrol was bought to burn out the Avensis, however, this did not go ahead. He was also handed 26 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Abubakr Satia, 32, of Oxford Close, Blackburn, was sentenced to 28 years. He sourced the Avensis used in the shooting and was also was involved in buying petrol afterwards to burn out the car. He was also handed 23 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Kashif Manzoor, 26, of Shakeshaft Street, Blackburn was given 27 years. He ensured the Avensis used to transport the shooter was running on the day of the incident. He was also handed 23 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

- Uthman Satia, 29, of St Hubert’s Road, Great Harwood was sentenced to 28 years. He helped to transport the gunman and driver to and from the Avensis on Wellington Road as the front seat passenger of the car being driven by his girlfriend, Judy Chapman. He was also handed 23 years for attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

What happened on the day of Miss Hachem's murder?

The intended target was Pachah Khan, 31, the owner of a rival business Quickshine Car Wash, who angered Suleman, boss of neighbouring RI Tyres, when they began to sell tyres and became direct competition.

A bitter feud developed which led to Suleman ordering the execution of Mr Khan, telling his trusted ally Hussain to recruit an assassin.

Manchester-based hitman Raja and his driver Ennis were assigned the task of cold-blooded murder.

Abubabkr Satia sourced a silver Toyota Avensis for just £300, financed by his friend Suleman, which was used by Raja and Ennis on the day of the shooting.

Judy Chapman, 26, who was convicted of manslaughter for her involvement, drove the gunman and driver from Bolton with her boyfriend, Uthman Satia, as front-seat passenger. She then collected the pair after the shooting.

Manzoor ensured the unreliable Avensis was able to be used after he jump-started the vehicle and left the engine running.