Seven people have been found guilty of murdering a law student who was accidentally shot in a failed drive-by shooting.
Firoz Suleiman, 40, the owner of a tire firm, arranged for a rival businessman to be hanged in broad daylight, but the gunman he had hired shot dead innocent passerby Aya Hachem.
The 19-year-old was called “in the wrong place at the wrong time” as a long-running dispute between neighboring tire companies culminated in Blackburn, Lancashire, on the afternoon of May 17 last year.
A Toyota Avensis driven by 31-year-old Anthony Ennis, accompanied by 33-year-old hitman Zamir Raja, crossed Quickshine tires on three occasions shortly before the fatal fourth trip.
Footage captured on CCTV cameras showed Suleman standing with a “ringside seat” outside his premises next to RI Tyres, arranged for Pachh Khan, the owner of Quickshine Tires, for the shoot.
The first shot hit Quickshine’s front window and the second was skipped as Lebanese-born Hackem went on to hit him instead of aiming.
On Tuesday, it took less than four hours for a jury at Preston Crown Court to find Suleiman from Blackburn guilty of murder and attempted murder of Pachah Khan.
King of Stratford, Greater Manchester and Ennis of Partington, Greater Manchester were also convicted of murder and attempt to murder, as were other accomplices, Kashif Manzoor, 26, of Blackburn, Ayaz Hussain of Blackburn, 35, Abubakar Satia, 32. , of Blackburn, and his brother Uthman Satia, 29, of Blackburn.
Osman Satia’s girlfriend, 26-year-old Judy Chapman of Great Harwood, was acquitted of murder and attempted murder, but found guilty of manslaughter.
Hachem was shot in King Street while on a shopping trip to the nearby Lidl supermarket to buy food when his family would break the Ramadan feast that evening.
Earlier, Manzoor made sure Avensis was ready for the shoot as he started the vehicle bought by Abubakar Satiya a week earlier for just £300 ($420).
Hussein, described as Suleiman’s “right hand”, acted as a mediator with the gun-wielding king.
Chapman and Osman Satia drive the Manchester killers away from the scene.
The court heard that the feud began in early 2019 when Quickshine began selling tires next to RI, which previously limited itself to car washes.
Things got worse on December 3 that year when someone set RI Tire on fire in King Street early in the morning.
The court was told that on May 1 last year, Suleman called the police and told that Pacha Khan had prevented workers from entering Quickshine’s yard to put up a new sign for RI Tyres.
In 2001, Suleiman was convicted of the death of a 67-year-old man from dangerous driving.
He fled the scene in Blackburn, claiming his vehicle was stolen and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, before pleading guilty to the crime on the day of his trial.
The seven male defendants will be sentenced on Thursday. Chapman will be sentenced in October.
In a statement, Hachem’s family said: “We thank God for today’s justice.
“For our sweet beautiful angel in heaven we know you are in a better and more beautiful place. God chose you among many and blessed you with martyrdom.
“We are so proud of you and we miss you so much – without you our life is difficult. This is God’s command and praise God for it. You will live forever in our hearts.
“You loved life and, despite all the struggles and obstacles we have faced in this country, that hasn’t stopped you from contributing to your community and charities, including fundraising at The Children’s Society and the University of Salford where you He was studying to become a barrister.
“God has chosen you as an angel in his heaven. Heaven is yours and may God give us patience after you are killed. We love you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Zoe Russo of Lancashire Police said: “Throughout this lengthy and incredibly complex investigation, our focus has been clear – to find those involved in this most serious crime, to bring them to court and to ensure For that came that the family should get justice.
“However, we must not forget that these convictions will not bring Aya back. Her family still mourns her loss. Aya was a remarkable and much loved 19-year-old woman.
“Aya and her family had left Lebanon to protect England. His dream was to qualify and practice as a lawyer.”
Hatchem was one of the youngest trustees of The Children’s Society charity.
by kim piling
News Originally From – The Epoch Times