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Seven men who murdered student in botched drive-by shooting are jailed for life

Aya Hachem and mugshots of the seven men convicted of murdering her.
Aya Hachem was killed in the attack in Blackburn last year (Picture: PA)

Seven men have been jailed for life over their part in a botched drive-by shooting in Lancashire which killed a teenage law student.

Feroz Suleman, 40, had arranged the execution of a rival businessman in broad daylight but the gunman he hired instead shot dead innocent passer-by Aya Hachem last year.

The 19-year-old had fled violence in her native Lebanon as a child to settle with her family in Blackburn and dreamed of becoming a solicitor.

Miss Hachem was shot in King Street on May 17, 2020, while on a trip to a nearby supermarket to buy food for her family to break their Ramadan fast that evening.

She died in hospital after a bullet entered her left shoulder, passed through her body and embedded itself in a telegraph pole.

Tyre firm boss Suleman, a father from Shear Brow, Blackburn, was on Thursday ordered to serve a minimum of 34 years before he can be considered for parole.

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

Aya Hachem, who was murdered in a botched drive-by shooting.
Miss Hachem had fled violence in her native Lebanon (Credits: PA)

Fellow accomplices Ayaz Hussain, 36, of Blackburn; Abubakr Satia, 32, of Blackburn; his brother, Uthman Satia, 29, of Great Harwood; and Kashif Manzoor, 26, of Blackburn, were handed minimum terms of 32 years, 28 years, 28 years and 27 years, respectively.

The intended target of the attack was Pachah Khan, the 31-year-old owner of Quickshine Car Wash.

He had enraged Suleman, the boss of neighbouring RI Tyres, by selling tyres and becoming direct competition.

A bitter feud developed and Suleman ordered the execution of Mr Khan, telling his trusted ally Hussain to find an assassin.

He recruited Manchester-based hitman Raja and his driver Ennis.

Mugshots of (top row) Ayaz Hussain, Abubakr Satia, Zamir Raja, Anthony Ennis and bottom row Feroz Suleman, Kashif Manzoor and Uthman Satia.
Top row (from left): Ayaz Hussain, Abubakr Satia, Zamir Raja, Anthony Ennis. Bottom Row: Feroz Suleman, Kashif Manzoor, Uthman Satia were all found guilty (Picture: PA)

Judy Chapman, 26, drove the gunman and driver from Bolton with her boyfriend, Uthman Satia, as front-seat passenger and collected the pair after the shooting.

She was convicted of manslaughter for her involvement.

Abubakr Satia sourced them 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.

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

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

A telegraph pole containing the bullet which travelled through Aya Hachem's body.
A telegraph pole containing the bullet which travelled through Miss Hachem’s body (Picture: PA)
Aya Hachem walking past the car wash before being shot.
Miss Hachem walking past the car wash before being shot (Picture: Lancashire Police)
Ammunition found in the back of the Toyota Avensis.
Ammunition found in the back of the Avensis (Picture: PA)

‘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.’

During the 12-week trial, divorced father-of-two Suleman denied any knowledge of a plot to kill Mr Khan and claimed Quickshine selling tyres had no impact on his business.

However, Amazon driver Hussain told jurors that Suleman wanted Mr Khan ‘roughed up’ and introduced him to Raja who suggested a drive-by with shots fired in the air to scare him.

Suleman was quoted a price of £1,500 and excitedly agreed straightaway, according to Hussain, who claimed there was no plan to kill.

Raja initially said he had nothing to do with the shooting and had arrived in Blackburn for a drugs deal, but during the trial he admitted he fired the gun, before refusing to return to the witness box to explain his intent.

CCTV shows Aya Hachem walking past car wash before being shot

Cannabis dealer Ennis, known as Sarge by his North Manchester customers, said he thought the trip to East Lancashire involved ‘shitting some people up and making them leg it’.

He also claimed he did not know Raja had a firearm, thought to be a Glock pistol.

Manzoor and the Satia brothers also told the jury they were innocent.

The jury took less than four hours on Tuesday to reject their version of events and convict the seven male defendants of the murder of Miss Hachem and the attempted murder of Mr Khan.

Chapman, of Great Harwood, will be sentenced on October 1 after she was found guilty of the manslaughter of Miss Hachem but cleared of murder and attempted murder.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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