LONDON: A Lebanese-born law student was shot dead in the UK amid a dispute between two local tyre firms, a court heard on Wednesday.
Aya Hachem, 19, was doing grocery shopping in her hometown of Blackburn when she was hit by one of two shots fired from a passing vehicle. She died in hospital from a gunshot wound.
Prosecutors said the shooting arose out of what appeared to be a dispute between two local tyre companies: RI Tyres and Quick Shine. Their case alleges that the defendants had arranged to shoot and kill Pachah Khan, the owner and manager of Quick Shine.
Ayaz Hussein, 34, Feroz Suleman, 39, Abubakir Satia, 31, Uthman Satia, 28, Judy Chapman, 26, and Kashif Manzoor, 24, have all been charged with Hachem’s murder and the attempted murder of Pachah Khan.
None of the defendants, who appeared via a video link, applied for bail during the hearing. They are expected to enter their pleas at a later hearing on Oct. 16.
A provisional trial date has been set for May 4 next year, but the judge said this represents a “worst case scenario” amid disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and that he hopes that trial will be moved forward.
Hachem’s parents have paid tribute to their “ambitious and passionate” daughter. Her father, Ismail Hachem, told Arab News: “I saw in Aya the embodiment of my dreams and wishes.”