LONDON: Seven British men have been jailed for life for murdering a Lebanese-born law student who was mistakenly shot dead during a drive-by attack last year.
Aya Hachem, 19, had just completed her second year of studies at Salford University when she was killed. Her family had settled in Blackburn in the north of England after her father rescued them from violence in Lebanon.
She was shot on May 17 last year while collecting groceries ahead of an iftar meal with her family.
Hachem died in hospital after a bullet entered her left shoulder, passed through her body and lodged into a pole behind her.
The innocent student was not the intended target of the shooting, which was ordered by a businessman in an attempt to kill a rival tire firm boss.
Pachah Khan, 31, owner of Quickshine Car Wash, angered Feroz Suleman, boss of neighbouring RI Tyres, when Quickshine began to sell tires and became direct competition.
Suleman, 40, who ordered the attack, was sentenced to a minimum of 34 years before he can be considered for parole.
The gunman, Zamir Raja, 33, who missed his first shot before striking Hachem with the second, was jailed for a minimum of 34 years. His driver, Anthony Ennis, 31, must serve 33 years. Ennis accelerated the vehicle before Hachem was shot, and drove around the tire firm three times before the attack occurred on the fourth drive-past.
Fellow accomplices Ayaz Hussain, 36, Abubakr Satia, 32, Uthman Satia, 29, and Kashif Manzoor, 26, were sentenced to minimum jail times of 32 years, 28 years, 28 years, and 27 years, respectively.
Manchester-based hitman Raja and his driver Ennis were given the job of killing Khan after Hussein was tasked with hiring a killer.
Abubabkr Satia acquired the vehicle used in the attack, which was paid for by his associate Suleman.
Judy Chapman, 26, drove her boyfriend — Uthman Satia — and Raja and Ennis from Bolton to Blackburn. She collect them after the attack. Chapman was convicted of manslaughter and will be sentenced in October.
Manzoor was involved in the murder by preparing the car, using jump-start cables and leaving the engine running.
The judge, 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.
“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.”