SEVEN men have been found guilty of murdering student Aya Hachem, today at Preston Crown Court.
The jury took just a few hours to find Feroz Suleman, 40, Kashif Manzoor, 26, Ayaz Hussain, 35, Abubakr Satia, 32, all from Blackburn, Zamir Raja, 33, of Stretford, Anthony Ennis, 31, of Partington, Uthman Satia, 29, of Great Harwood, guilty of murdering the teenager in a bungled hit in May 2020 in King Street, Blackburn.
Judy Chapman, 26, of Great Harwood, was cleared of murdering Aya but found guilty of manslaughter.
All seven men were also convicted of the attempted murder of Pachah Khan, the intended target of the hit. He was the owner of Quickshine Tyres and involved in a business feud with Suleman, owner of RI Tyres, the firm next door in King Street.
Chapman was acquitted of the attempted murder of Mr Khan.
Sentencing will take place on Thursday.
Over the course of the 57-day trial, the court heard Aya, a 19-year-old law student, was shot dead in King Street in the town on May 17 last year.
The Crown’s case was the drive-by shooting was organised by Suleman, who had been embroiled in a bitter feud with his neighbour and business rival Mr Khan.
Suleman hired a hitman from Manchester, Raja, to carry out the fatal shooting for the price of £1,500.
Raja, of no fixed address, refused to fully participate in cross-examination and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
On his behalf his legal team argued it was never his intention to kill and that he had set out on a mission to ‘scare or intimidate’ Mr Khan and his Quickshine Tyres workers.
Hussain, of Calgary Avenue, Blackburn, said his old friend Suleman asked him if he knew anyone who could rough up the Quickshine Tyres boss and that is when he contacted Raja through another man Lewis Otway, who was not on trial.
He admitted being the link between Suleman and Raja but denied knowing a fatal shooting or attempted murder was to take place.
Suleman, of Shear Brow, Blackburn, denied all knowledge of any of the events and claims he was absent during one of the key moments in the prosecution’s case, when a ‘dry-run’ for the shooting took place on May 16.
At that time Suleman claims he was eating a burger with a married lady friend, while the prosecution say it was him captured on CCTV with the hitman and other players in the plan.
Brothers Abubakr and Uthman Satia, also of Oxford Close, both became involved in the plot through their friendship with Suleman and connection to RI Tyres.
Abubakr Satia admits buying the Toyota Avensis that was used in the shooting and being involved in events during and after the tragic incident, but denies having knowingly been implicated, as does his brother.
Drug addict Uthman Satia agreed to pick up and drop off the gunman and his driver Anthony Ennis, from Bolton, for a small fee he would later use to buy cocaine – but claims it was his understanding that the two men were coming to Blackburn to test drive the Toyota Avensis, not in a bid to kill Mr Khan.
Uthman Satia’s girlfriend Judy Chapman became involved when she heard Uthman was planning to drive to Bolton in her Ford Fiesta.
However due to her concerns over the younger Satia brother’s driving disqualification, she said she would drive to Bolton and back to collect the men, over fears he would be stopped by police.
Ennis, of Grasmere Road, Partington, admits being the man who drove Raja to King Street in the Toyota Avensis once they had been dropped off at the location it was being kept at on Wellington Road, by Chapman and Uthman Satia.
Manzoor, of Shakeshaft Street, Blackburn, was one of Suleman’s closest friends. He admits having jump-started the Toyota Avensis moments before the shooting took place, but claims he thought it was for a customer of RI Tyres.
The jury rejected their version of events.
More to follow