For ambushing and then murdering two men following a high-speed automobile chase, a TikTok influencer—dubbed “self-obsessed” by the judge—and her mother have each been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of more than 31 years and 26 years, respectively.
Mahek Bukhari, a 24-year-old content creator for TikTok and YouTube, sobbed as her mother Ansreen, 46, and she were sentenced by Judge Timothy Spencer KC at Leicester Crown Court on Friday for their roles in the murders of Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin in February of last year.
Rekhan Karwan, 29, and Raees Jamal, 23, also faced two counts of murder and were sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 26 years, 10 months, and 31 years, respectively. Natasha Akhtar, 23, received a sentence of 11 years, 8 months, and Ameer Jamal, 28, and Sanaf Gulamustafa, 23, received sentences of 14 years, 8 months, and 9 months, respectively, for two counts of manslaughter.
Raees Jamal, who is already serving a jail term for rape, must serve an additional five years in addition to the 31 years he received on Friday, which is the remaining time of his previous sentence for rape.
The 21-year-old drivers of the car that crashed off the A46 near Leicester, Mr. Hussain and Mr. Ijazuddin, were intentionally rammed off the road, according to the prosecution during their three-month murder trial at Leicester Crown Court.
The eight defendants were pursuing the victims, who were travelling in a Skoda and were from Banbury in Oxfordshire.
Mahek was alleged to have participated in the ambush after Mr. Hussain threatened to use explicit images to reveal a long-running relationship he had with her married mother.
According to testimony given in court, Mr. Ijazuddin’s Skoda Fabia “split in two” and caught fire after colliding with a tree at the Six Hills intersection early on February 11 of last year.
The victims’ dental records were used to identify them.
Despite having denied two counts of murder, Mahek Bukhari and her mother, both of George Eardley Close, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, were found guilty by a jury at the beginning of August after more than 28 hours of deliberation.
The Bukharis, according to the prosecution, “lured” Mr. Hussain into meeting them for “one last meeting” in the Tesco parking lot in Hamilton, Leicester, by promising to reimburse him for the £3,000 he said he had spent on taking his lover out during their tryst.
However, Ansreen and Mahek arrived in two cars—an Audi TT and a Seat Leon—at the prearranged meet-up location alongside the other six people.
In a Skoda Fabia driven by his buddy Mr. Ijuzaddin, who had promised to accompany Mr. Hussain to Leicester as a “favour,” Mr. Hussain then arrived at the parking lot.
CCTV footage shows the Skoda Fabia entering the parking lot, leaving right away, and being followed out of the lot by the Audi TT and Seat Leon two minutes later.
Following a chase between the vehicles, forensic crash investigators’ investigation revealed that the Audi had achieved speeds of up to 100 mph.
It was believed that the Skoda was travelling at a speed of more than 80 mph at the time of the collision, which was not caught on CCTV.
Front-seat passenger Mr. Hussain reported his car was being “rammed off the road” by balaclava-clad attackers in two pursuing cars in a 999 call to police made just moments before he passed away.
Mr. Hussain’s father Sajad, who was present in court with family, described his son as his “pride and joy” in a victim impact statement read aloud in court by prosecutor Collingwood Thompson KC.
He said: “The joy Saqib bought into our lives was immeasurable. His beautiful presence was a gift.
“He brought love and light into the lives of everyone who knew him. He was kind-hearted and selfless, and he was loved by all his friends and family and everyone who knew him.”
When the police informed them that Saqib had passed away, he recalled how Saqib’s mother “fell to the floor crying and screaming’my child, my child'”.
Sikander Hayat, the father of Mr. Ijazuddin, told the crowded courtroom that his family has been going through a “never-ending nightmare that has shattered our lives.”
Looking at the defendants in the dock, he said: “Hashim was innocent. Totally innocent. One hundred per cent innocent.”
He added: “We are not the same and we have realised we never will be so carefree and happy again. My heart has been ripped out.
“Why did this happen to him? He did not know his murderers or what awaited him in that Tesco car park.
“We have lost our son in the worst possible way. The fear he must have felt in the moments leading up to his death. He was left with his friend to burn. It is heart-shattering.”
Mahek’s defence attorney, Christopher Millington KC, said that although his client was “somewhat immature” and had been put in a “invidious” situation as a result of her mother’s affair, she had not intended the results of what happened.
He said: “She was driving an Audi which was a courtesy car that could be traced back to her.
“Neither Ansreen Bukhari or Mahek Bukhari wore anything covering their faces.
“The evidence does not establish an intent to kill.”
Patrick Upward KC, who is defending Ansreen, stated that his client was a “respectable family woman” for a long time.
He said: “She had been under pressure from Saqib. There were threats being made to express what had happened between them.
“On at least one occasion, Saqib did actually send a message to Ansreen’s husband inviting him to become a witness to what had been going on, but the message was deleted by Mahek.
“Ansreen deceived a lot of people – her husband, her son, her family, her friends and we have seen the heart-wrenching effect this has had on the family of the two young men.
“As a mature woman, as a mother, she knows the effect of what she has done. She will have to spend the rest of her life living in the shadow of her shame.”
Mahek Bukhari’s “tawdry fame” as a social media influencer, according to Judge Spencer, had “made you utterly self-obsessed, with a wholly unjustified sense of entitlement, and no apparent awareness of the impact you have on others, oblivious to the damage you do,” when it came to sentencing.
He concurred with the prosecution’s assertion that “love, obsession, extortion, and blackmail” had a role in this case.
He said: “The prosecution were also right to categorise this case as cold-blooded murder.
“TikTok and Instagram are at the heart of this case, Mahek Bukhari being a social media influencer.
“That is the reason you, Mahek, dropped out of university. Had you not done so, you would now be a young graduate with your whole life ahead of you. Now, you constrain yourself to prison for all of your best years.
“It was the reason you, Ansreen Bukhari, became your daughter’s chaperone. It was the reason your head was turned towards the perceived glamour of promotions, shisha bar openings and the like – a world far removed from the life you lived until then as a mother and housewife.
“You fell for the advances of Saqib Hussain and you began your affair. It was an affair you came to regret and decided to end.
“That decision led to the deaths of Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin.
“Saqib Hussain was blackmailing you. He was volatile but I am quite sure, had you had a mature approach to ending your affair, he would have come to terms with it.
“Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin was totally innocent in all of this. All he did was agree to give his friend a lift and he found himself sucked into a deadly maelstrom caused by all of you in the dock.
“By January 2022, you, Ansreen Bukhari, put matters into the hands of your daughter – what a calamitous decision.
“You, Mahek Bukhari, approached Rekhan Karwan as a go-between and you, Rekhan Karwan, brought in Raees Jamal. You both knew much more of the situation than you let on to the jury about the Bukhari troubles.
“There never was any money for Saqib Hussain at the meeting – it was a lie to lure him to this city.
“Ansreen Bukhari, you the grown up adult in the group should have behaved like the grown up adult, but you allowed your understandable concerns about exposure to strip yourself of any rational judgment.
“There were so many instances when you could have put a stop to this unfolding tragedy but at every turn you made the wrong choice and allowed out of control events to escalate ever more alarmingly.
“Mahek Bukhari, that your solution to your mothers problems was to engage some of your male followers to beat up Saqib Hussain – ‘jump him’ as you put it – speaks volumes of your warped values and maybe also of the false world of influencing that you so enthusiastically espoused.”
Judge Spencer addressed every defendant present in the courtroom, claiming that each one was only concerned with “saving your own skin” as opposed to showing any compassion for the victims in the aftermath of the collision.
He said: “Each has done all you can to try to avoid responsibility and to seek to explain away the evidence.
“So whilst remorse is expressed by some it is little and late and has a hollow ring. The jury saw through your lies.”