Ex-TikTok influencer and her mother guilty of murdering two men
Mahek Bukhari, 24, and her mother, Ansreen Bukhari, 46, were convicted alongside two other defendants of killing Saqib Hussain and his friend Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, in February last year.
Mahek Bukhari sobbed in the dock as jurors delivered the verdicts on Friday, after more than 28 hours of deliberations at the end of a three-month trial at Leicester crown court.
Their fellow defendants Rekan Karwan and Raees Jamal were found guilty of two counts of murder, while Natasha Akhtar, Ameer Jamal and Sanaf Gulammustafa were found not guilty of murder, but guilty of two counts of manslaughter.
Mohammed Patel was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
Ansreen Bukhari had been having an affair with Hussain for about three years and the prosecution alleged that the group had lured him to a car park in the early hours of 11 February last year, to confront him over sexual photos and videos he had been using to blackmail her.
When Hussain and his friend drove off, two cars carrying the eight defendants pursued them at speeds reaching 100mph before their car was rammed off the road and exploded when it hit a tree on the A46 dual carriageway near Leicester.
In the moments before the crash, Hussain called 999 and said: “There’s guys following me. They’ve got balaclavas on. They’re trying to ram me off the road. They’re trying to kill me – I’m going to die.”
The call led police to launch a murder investigation after discovering the wreckage of the car, said DI Mark Parish from the east Midlands major investigations unit.
“That’s what escalated what could have been a traffic collision into a murder investigation, that 999 call,” he said. “Members of the public who attended would have thought that was just a car crash, a tragic accident.”
The court was told that the car containing Hussain and Ijazuddin, from Banbury in Oxfordshire, “split in two” and caught fire after hitting the tree, and they both died immediately from multiple injuries.
The collision was not captured on CCTV but damage on the front of a Seat Leon driven by Jamal was found to be consistent with colliding with the rear of the Skoda Fabia containing the two victims.
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Parish said the mother and daughter, from Stoke-on-Trent, could have approached the police for help with Hussain, who was threatening to send sexually explicit images to Ansreen Bukhari’s husband unless she paid him £3,000, which he claimed to have spent on her during their affair.
“This was a callous and cold-blooded attack which ultimately cost two men their lives,” he said. “None of the defendants made any attempt to help the victims or to call for help. Instead they drove on and then even drove back past the collision site.”
Ijazuddin had driven Hussain, a childhood friend, to Leicester as a “favour”, the court heard, and did not know any of the defendants who caused his death.
“He was just somebody helping out a friend to drive him to Leicester. He knew nobody else, he didn’t know any of the defendants, he didn’t know what was going off,” said DI Parish.
The defendants will be sentenced on 1 September.