UK

Feud Between Businesses Led to Hitman Shooting Teenage Student By Mistake, UK Murder Trial Jury Told

On a Sunday in May 2020 Aya Hachem, a university student, was shot dead while on a shopping trip in Blackburn, a town in northern England. Two shots were fired from a passing car and the 19-year-old died in hospital.

A teenager died when she was shot by mistake during an attack mounted as part of a feud between rival businesses in a former cotton mill town in Lancashire, a murder trial jury has been told.

Eight people are on trial for the murder of Aya Hachem, who was born in Lebanon but came to Britain with her family in 2011 and was studying law at the University of Salford.

​The defendants are also accused of the attempted murder of Pacha Khan, who was allegedly targeted for assassination but survived. Mr Khan owned Quick Shine Tyres, a car wash and tyre repair business.

Nick Johnson, prosecuting, told the jury at Preston Crown Court the shots were fired by Zamir Raja, a 33-year-old hitman from Manchester, who was a passenger in a car driven by Anthony Ennis, 31.

Mr Johnson said Aya was struck by a bullet fired from a silver Toyota Avensis as she walked past Quick Shine Tyres towards the Lidl supermarket in Blackburn.

He said the actual target was Mr Khan, who owned Quick Shine Tyres, a car wash and tyre repair business and he lamented Aya was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Mr Johnson said the shooting was the culmination of a year-long feud between Mr Khan and Feroz Suleman, 40, the owner of RI Tyres, who is accused of orchestrating the murder.

The jury heard the dispute began when Quick Shine, a car wash, began selling tyres. 

Mr Johnson said this put them in competition with RI Tyres and in December 2019 Suleman claimed Pachah Khan was responsible for a fire which damaged his premises.

The police tried to act as “a broker for peace” but the feud festered and shortly before the shooting Mr Khan told police Suleman had threatened to “burn his premises down and kill him.”

​Also on trial are Kashif Manzoor, 26, Uthman Satia, 29, Abubakir Satia, 32, Ayaz Hussain, 35, and Judy Chapman, 26.

Mr Johnson said each defendant had their role. He claimed Abubakir Satia disposed of the Avensis after the shooting, Judy Chapman and her boyfriend Uthman Satia transported Raja and Ennis to and from the getaway car, Kashif Manzoor was responsible for maintaining the Avensis and Ayaz Hussain was the link between Suleman and the others.

All eight deny murder.

The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

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