Murder accused in TikTok trial denies knowing what happened on night of fatal A46 crash
The seventh defendant to take the stand in the trial of TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari and others has told the jury she had no idea what was happening on the night of the fatal crash that killed Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin on the A46.
Natasha Akhtar gave evidence that she never asked any of her co-accused what was happening at any point.
She said the first she knew about anything "sinister" going on was when she was arrested on suspicion of murder.
She admits being with the others - first at Tesco in Hamilton, Leicester, where Mahek had arranged a meeting with Saqib, and also in the car when the fatal crash happened near Six Hills, north of the city.
But she claimed that when she later saw the flaming wreck of the men's Skoda Fabia she had no idea it was connected to the pursuit a few minutes earlier, in which her Seat Leon, being driven by her boyfriend and co-accused Raees Jamal, was trying to overtake the Skoda but allegedly being blocked.
Another co-accused, Sanaf Gulammustafa, gave a similar account that he had no idea what was going on when he gave evidence yesterday.
When Akhtar was asked about the trip back to Leicester and seeing the car wreck, she said: "I've seen a car in flames. It was on the central reservation.
"The car looked empty, like there was no one in there. Everyone [in the Seat] was going mad."
She claimed that as they passed the flaming car she thought she saw the blue lights of an emergency vehicle.
She said she did not see the fatal crash that killed the two men, which happened at about 1.30am on Friday, February 11.
Summing up the moments before the fatal crash, she said: "My car had tried to overtake the Skoda, the Skoda was not letting us get past. He kept swerving in and out of lanes."
Akhtar said she did not know what had happened to the Skoda after that, and did not know why the car had allegedly been swerving to stop them getting past.
She said she did not speak to anyone after they got back to Leicester, and she did not ask Raees about what happened as she later drove him back home to Loughborough.
The jury has heard that both pursuit cars - Mahek Bukhari's Audi TT and the Seat Leon - returned to Leicester after the crash and parked up in Sutton Place, a cul-de-sac in the Northfields area of the city.
Akhtar told the court that she had taken over the driving after the crash, and that Raees had told her to follow the Audi TT.
Her barrister, Timothy Raggat KC, asked: "Obviously people in your car were upset about something. Did you know at that stage what they were upset about?" She said no.
Mr Raggat said: "Did there come a point where you did learn something about what had actually happened?" She said: "After being arrested."
Akhtar said she only saw Mahek and her mother, co-accused Ansreen Bukhari, after they got out of the cars back in Leicester, and still, at that point, had no idea who they were.
Mr Raggat asked: "Did you think anything sinister was happening?" She said she did not.
When asked why she had not spoken to anyone during all the time she spent with her co-defendants after the fatal crash, she said: "I didn't want to be sociable at that point. I'd just seen a car on fire, which had traumatised me because I'd never seen anything like that before."
All eight defendants deny murder and an alternative count of manslaughter. They are:
Natasha Akhtar, 22, of Alum Rock Road, Birmingham
Ansreen Bukhari, 45, of George Eardley Close, Stoke
Mahek Bukhari , 23, of George Eardley Close, Stoke
Raees Jamal, 22, of Lingdale Close, Loughborough
Rekan Karwan, 28, of Tomlin Road, Leicester
Mohammed Patel, 20, of Braybrooke Road, Leicester
Sanaf Gulammustafa, 22, of Littlemore Close, Crown Hills, Leicester
Ammeer Jamal, 27, of Catherine Street, Belgrave, Leicester
The trial continues.