Seven men found guilty of murdering student Aya Hachem in drive-by shooting

Aya Hachem

Seven men have been found guilty of murdering a law student who was mistakenly gunned down in a botched drive-by shooting.

It happened after the boss of a local tyre firm, Feroz Suleman, hired a hitman to kill a rival businessman in May 2020. Instead, 19-year-old Aya Hachem was shot dead in broad daylight.

Aya was said to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time" as the long-running feud between the neighbouring tyre companies culminated in Blackburn on the afternoon of May 17th last year.

After Ms Hachem fell to the ground, many passers-by stopped and tried to help, but her injuries were already fatal.

Top row: Feroz Suleman, Zamir Raja, Uthman Satia, Abubakr Satia. Bottom row: Anthony Ennis, Kashif Mansoor, Ayaz Hussain, Judy Chapman Credit: Lancashire Police

Who took part in the botched hit?

Feroz Suleman

The 40-year-old from Blackburn instigated and organised the hit.

Zamir Raja

The 33-year-old from Stretford, Manchester was responsible for sourcing and transporting the firearm used in the shooting, as well as firing the shots.

Uthman Satia

The 29-year-old from Great Harwood – Judy Chapman’s partner - was also responsible for transporting the gunman and driver to and from the Avensis on Wellington Road as Chapman’s front seat passenger.

Abubakr Satia

The 32-year-old from Blackburn sourced the Avensis used in the shooting and was also involved in buying petrol afterwards to burn out the car, however, this did not go ahead.

Anthony Ennis

The 31-year-old from Partington drove the Avensis carrying the gunman during the shooting.

Kashif Manzoor

The 26-year-old from Blackburn was responsible for ensuring the Avensis used to transport the shooter was running on the day of the incident.

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Ayaz Hussain

The 35-year-old from Blackburn was the link between the Lancashire offenders and Zamir Raja and Anthony Ennis, based in Manchester. He played a key role in organising and orchestrating the shooting and was in company of Abubakr Satia when the petrol to burn out the Avensis was bought.

Judy Chapman

The 26-year-old from Great Harwood, drove the gunman and driver from Bolton to the Avensis on Wellington Road, Blackburn and collected them afterwards in the afternoon of the shooting. She was found guilty of Aya’s manslaughter but not guilty of the attempted murder of Pacha Khan.

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A Toyota Avensis driven by Anthony Ennis, 31, with hitman Zamir Raja, 33, on board drove past Quickshine Tyres on three occasions shortly before the fatal fourth journey.

A gun be seen pointed from the back window of the Avensis moments before the shots were fired. Credit: Lancashire Police

Footage from CCTV cameras captured Suleman stood outside his premises next door at RI Tyres with a "ringside seat" to the shooting he had arranged of Pachah Khan, the proprietor of Quickshine Tyres.

The first shot hit the front window of Quickshine and the second was let off as Lebanese-born Miss Hachem walked by, hitting her rather than the intended target.

Credit: Lancashire Police
  • Who was Aya Hachem?

Aya was the second of four children, daughter of Samar Salame and Ismail Hachem.

She had two brothers and a sister. She'd excelled in her studies at Salford University, and before that at Blackburn Central High School.

Aya had dreamed of becoming a solicitor. She had just completed her exams and was learning to drive.

She was also passionate about charity work, and was one of the youngest trustees of charity ‘The Children’s Society’.

Her family fled Lebanon when she was a child and settled in Blackburn. She had lived there since.

  • Her family paid this tribute:

“To our dear beautiful angel in heaven we know you are in a better and more beautiful place. God chose you from amongst many and blessed you with martyrdom.

“We are so proud of you and we miss you so much – our lives are difficult without you. This is God’s decree and praise be to God for this. You will remain in our hearts forever.

“You loved life and despite all the struggles and barriers that we faced in this country, it did not stop you contributing to your community and charites including the Children’s Society and fundraising at Salford University where you were studying to become a barrister.

“God chose you as an angel in his heaven. Heaven is yours and may God give us the patience after your murder. We love you.

Video here: Aya's mum  Samar Salame speaking on the steps outside Preston Crown Court.

Credit: Lancashire Police

“We thank Detective Chief Inspector Zoe Russo and her team of dedicated police officers who worked so hard to build a strong case against the defendants who have been convicted today.

“Also, to the Crown Prosecution Service, represented by Mr. Johnson, from the first moments of Aya’s murder until the last moments of the trial.

“We also thank Mr Justice Turner, who managed the court proceedings with confidence and wisdom.

“We offer thanks to the jury for their time and effort to listen for 12 weeks and to distinguish truth from falsehood, lies and honesty.

“Special thanks to the ARC Centre and the wider community of Blackburn including the many families that have offered their support in this difficult time.”

On Tuesday, a jury at Preston Crown Court took less than four hours to find Suleman, from Blackburn, guilty of murder and the attempted murder of Mr Khan.

Raja, of Stretford, Greater Manchester, and Ennis, of Partington, Greater Manchester, were also convicted of murder and attempted murder, as were other accomplices Kashif Manzoor, 26, of Blackburn, Ayaz Hussain, 35, of Blackburn, Abubakr Satia, 32, of Blackburn, and his brother Uthman Satia, 29, of Blackburn.

They'll all be sentenced on Thursday.

Uthman Satia's girlfriend, Judy Chapman, 26, of Great Harwood, was cleared of murder and attempted murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

  • The case in numbers