Two men charged with murder of law student in drive-by shooting

Two men have been charged with the murder of a law student and the attempted murder of their intended target in a drive-by shooting.

By Iain Lynn
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 7:18 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd May 2020, 7:22 pm

Innocent passer-by Aya Hachem, 19, was gunned down as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

The first of two shots fired from a passing vehicle hit a building but the second fatally struck the teenager in the chest.

Feroz Suleman, 39, of Shear Brow, Blackburn, and Abubakir Satia, 31, of Oxford Close, Blackburn, have been charged with murder and attempted murder.

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Aya Hachem

Both defendants are due to appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

Two men aged 33 and 36 from Blackburn arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder have been released on bail pending further inquiries, Lancashire Police said.

On Friday, police also arrested a 22-year-old man from Blackburn on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.

He remains in custody along with seven other men and two women, all from the Blackburn area, held in connection with Aya’s death.

Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin said: “While we have now charged people in connection with Aya’s murder our inquiries are very much ongoing.

“I would like to thank all those who have come forward to assist with our investigation so far and to continue to encourage people to come and speak to us if they have information.”

Police have not named the man who they believe was the target of the broad daylight shooting on a busy main road in the town centre.

The teenager, a second year student at the University of Salford, died in hospital a short time after emergency services were called to the scene near Lidl in King Street at around 3pm.

A number of people were travelling in the light green/silver Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired.

The vehicle was abandoned a short time later in nearby Wellington Road and seized for forensic examination.

Aya’s family had fled from their home country of Lebanon to seek a better life in the UK.

Her distraught parents said she was the “most loyal devoted daughter” who enjoyed spending time with her family and dreamed of becoming a solicitor.