TikTok murder trial: Victims’ families speak

Hashim Ijazuddin (left) and Saqib Hussain, both from Banbury, died at the scene
Hashim Ijazuddin (left) and Saqib Hussain, both from Banbury, died at the scene

The families of two young men murdered in a high-speed car chase have told a court their lives have been torn apart by their deaths.

Saqib Hussain and Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, were killed in a crash on the A46 in Leicestershire in February 2022.

TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari, 24, and her mother Ansreen Bukhari, 46, were convicted of murder last month.

Families of the victims have been addressing Leicester Crown Court ahead of the pair’s sentencing later.

Their trial previously heard Mr Hussain had threatened to reveal he was having an affair with Mrs Bukhari, and she and her daughter devised a plan to silence him.

The pair, both from Stoke-on-Trent, “lured” Mr Hussain, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, to a meeting in a Tesco car park in Leicester, saying he would be given back £3,000 he said he had spent on taking his lover out during their relationship.

However Mr Hussain, and his friend Mr Ijazuddin, who accompanied him, were then ambushed by a masked gang, recruited by the Bukharis, and chased by two cars, later crashing into a tree in a ball of flames.

Also due to be sentenced for murder are fellow defendants Rekan Karwan, 29, from Leicester, and Raees Jamal, 23, from Loughborough, who were recruited by the Bukharis, and were driving the pursuing cars.

Natasha Akhtar, 23, from Birmingham; Ameer Jamal, 28, and Sanaf Gulamustafa, 23, both from Leicester, were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

In statements read to the court, the parents of Mr Hussain and Mr Ijazuddin said their lives had been changed forever by their deaths.

Mr Ijazuddin’s father, Sikandar Hayat, said: “My heart has been ripped out and none of us will be the same again. None of us will truly smile again.

“All we have left is memories of our beloved son.”

He said his son, who accompanied his friend Mr Hussain to the rendezvous that ultimately led to their deaths, had been “innocent”.

He said he could not understand why the defendants had not called the emergency services to get help after the crash.

“They left him and his friend to burn in a furnace of hell,” he said.

Addressing the Bukharis in the dock, he asked them: “Was it worth it?” and said they had ruined their own lives as well as those of the victim’s families.

In a statement read on their behalf, Mr Hussain’s family said his parents had been left as “two lifeless corpses”, unable to eat or drink in the run-up to their son’s funeral.

Mr Ijazuddin’s brother Zaheer described the Bukharis as “murdering monsters”.

Both families said they were haunted by the fear the victims must have felt in their final moments.

The trial heard a 999 call made by Mr Hussain, from the passenger seat of his car as it was chased along the A46 towards Six Hills in Leicestershire.

He told police: “There’s guys following me, they have balaclavas on… they’re trying to ram me off the road.”

A scream was heard on the line before the call abruptly ended.

The court heard mitigation from Ansreen Bukhari’s barrister Philip Upward, who said she had been under pressure from Mr Hussain for months, and he had threatened to release pictures and video of her.

He said she had not intended for her lover and his friend to be killed.

Nor has she been armed or disguised, he said, when she went to meet Mr Hussain in Leicester.

“She will accept she was weak, as a mature woman, in responding to his advances,” she said.

“She will spend the rest of her life living in the shadow of her shame.”

The court heard, in mitigation for Mahek Bukhari, she was immature and acted to protect her mother who was her “closest friend”.

The hearing was told she had not planned to kill either man.

Her barrister Christopher Millington said: “Intentions were formed on the spur of the moment on the A46.”