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Mahek Bukhari (left) and her mother Ansreen wanted to silence Saqib Hussain, who had threatened to reveal an affair he was having with the older woman, the trial heard
By Dan Martin
BBC News

A social media influencer and her mother have been jailed for the “cold-blooded” murder of two men who died when their car was rammed off the road.

Mahek and Ansreen Bukhari recruited others to help them target Saqib Hussain and Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21.

The fatal car chase in Leicestershire came after Mr Hussain threatened to reveal an affair he had been having with Ansreen, 46.

The court heard it was a plot of “love, obsession and extortion”.

Mahek – a 24-year-old social media influencer who the judge branded “entirely self-obsessed” – was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 31 years and eight months.

Ansreen, whose head had been turned by the “perceived glamour” of her daughter’s career, was jailed for life and given a minimum term of 26 years and nine months.

Watch: What CCTV evidence showed us in the TikTok murder case

Leicester Crown Court heard the Bukharis “lured” Mr Hussain to a meeting in a Tesco car park, saying he would be given back £3,000 he claimed to have spent on his lover during their relationship.

They planned to take his mobile phone from him, believing it contained explicit images of Ansreen, which he had threatened to reveal.

However Mr Hussain and his friend Mr Ijazuddin were then ambushed by a masked gang, recruited by the Bukharis, and chased in their Skoda Fabia along the A46 at speeds of up to 90mph by a Seat Leon and Audi TT – before crashing into a tree in a ball of flames.

Judge Timothy Spencer KC said: “The prosecution categorised this as a story of love, obsession and extortion and they are right.

“They were also right in categorising this case as one of cold-blooded murder.”

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

The judge said TikTok and Instagram, where Mahek Bukhari had amassed tens of thousands of followers posting beauty and fashion advice, were at the heart of the case.

He told Mahek: “Your tawdry fame through your career as an influencer has made you entirely self-obsessed.”

He said her “warped values” had led to her having “no apparent awareness” of the impact her actions had on others.

She blew a kiss to her father, present in court, as she was taken from the dock to start her jail sentence.

The judge said Ansreen’s head had been turned by the “perceived glamour” of her daughter’s career, with her often appearing in posts online and attending promotions and shisha bar openings.

He said it was a world removed from her life as a mother and housewife.

He told her: “You are the grown-up in this group and you should have behaved as the grown-up but you allowed your understandable concern about exposure to strip you of any rational judgement.”

He said she had made a “calamitous decision” to ask for Mahek’s help with Mr Hussain.

He then cites two key WhatsApp messages from Mahek.

One of them says: “I’ll soon get him jumped by guys and he won’t know what day it is… I’ll make sure he gets jumped, he won’t know who did it and how.”

Clockwise from top left: Rekan Karwan and Raees Jamal, who were found guilty of murder; Ameer Jamal, Sanaf Gulamustafa and Natasha Akhtar, who were convicted of manslaughter

Earlier on Friday, the court heard statements from the families of the victims, in which the parents of Mr Hussain and Mr Ijazuddin said their lives had been changed forever.

Mr Ijazuddin’s father, Sikandar Hayat, said his son, who accompanied his friend 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 after the crash.

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

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.

‘Moving and distressing’ evidence

During the trial, a 999 call made by Mr Hussain in the moments before the fatal crash was played.

He told police call handlers: “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 judge said: “It was one of the most moving and distressing pieces of evidence ever heard in a criminal court.”

Also sentenced for murder were fellow defendants Rekan Karwan, 29, and Raees Jamal, 23, who were recruited by the Bukharis and driving the pursuing cars.

The court heard Jamal is serving a sentence for rape.

In the courtroom

George Torr, BBC News

The heartbreaking saga for the Hussain and Ijazzudin families is finally coming to an end.

It’s difficult to put into words just how painful it has been for them since their sons’ deaths back in February 2022.

Mr Hussain’s father Sajad and Mr Ijazzudin’s father Sikander have spent every minute inside this courtroom in Leicester, making the journey every day from their Oxfordshire home to the East Midlands.

Mahek Bukhari, the ringleader, is now a shell of her former self the press have observed.

She shared smiles and laughs with other defendants during quieter parts of the trial, and casually played board games in the precinct when the jury retired.

She casually played Monopoly and the card game Uno while she waited for the jury to come back with a verdict.

She even waved and laughed at reporters outside with cameras from a balcony in the court foyer just hours before she broke down in tears when she was convicted of double murder.

The judge said Mahek approached Karwan as “a go-between”, before Karwan “brought in Raees Jamal”.

He said it was not chance that Karwan took over the driving of the Audi when the fatal pursuit took place.

He suggested Raees Jamal was enthralled with Mahek, despite being in a relationship “of sorts” with fellow defendant Natasha Akhtar, and was willing to “do her bidding”.

The judge said Ameer Jamal and Sanaf Gulamustafa were “willing recruits” in the ambush.

He added lies told by Akhtar revealed she was an “integral part of this venture” and she was either “deluded” or found lying second-nature.

The defendants

Mahek Bukhari, of George Eardley Close, Stoke-on-Trent, was jailed for life with a minimum least 31 years and eight months in prison
Ansreen Bukhari, of George Eardley Close, Stoke-on-Trent, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years and nine months
Rekan Karwan, of Tomlin Road, Leicester, was jailed for life with a minimum of 26 years and 10 months
Raees Jamal, of Lingdale Close, Loughborough, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years and 45 days. He must serve five years on top of the 31 years he was given on Friday – the unexpired portion of his rape sentence
Natasha Akhtar, 23, of Alum Rock Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to 11 years and eight months for manslaughter
Ameer Jamal, 28, of Catherine Street, Leicester, was jailed for 14 years and eight months for manslaughter
Sanaf Gulamustafa, 23, of Littlemore Close, Leicester, was sentenced to 14 years and nine months in prison for manslaughter

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