“The trap was then set at Tesco with an attempt to harm him"
TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari has received a life sentence for the murder of her mother’s lover and his friend.
The 24-year-old, her mother Ansreen and five others were responsible for the deaths of Saqib Hussain and Hashim Ijazuddin, whose car was rammed off the road and burst into flames on February 1, 2022.
Saqib had an affair with Ansreen but when she tried to end it, he threatened to post nude photos and sexual videos of her.
Mahek and Ansreen offered to give Saqib £2,000 as repayment for the money he spent on his lover during their affair.
They organised a meetup to hand over the money, with Saqib and Hashim travelling from Banbury to Leicester.
However, it was an ambush that led to the TikToker and her co-defendants pursuing the two men up the A46.
Driving a Seat Leon, Raees Jamal rammed the victims’ car, sending them crashing into the central reservation.
Jamal is already serving a 10-year prison sentence for raping a teenage girl at his home in Loughborough in 2020.
He was jailed for rape in August 2022 but the jury in the murder trial was not told to prevent it from influencing their verdict.
Following a trial that lasted three months, Mahek and Ansreen Bukhari were found guilty of murder.
Raees Jamal and Rekan Karwan were also convicted of murder.
Natasha Akhtar, Sanaf Gulamustafa and Ameer Jamal were all found guilty of manslaughter.
An eighth defendant was cleared of all charges.
Prosecutor Collingwood Thompson KC said there was a “significant degree of planning” in the double murder.
He said: “It’s clear from the evidence Saqib was blackmailing – threatening to expose the true nature of his relationship with Ansreen.
“That led to an attempt to silence Saqib Hussain to prevent him repeating the threats.
“The trap was then set at Tesco with an attempt to harm him there, to lure him – with the lure being the return of money he had spent on Ansreen and seeing her for one last time.”
Mr Thompson also highlighted the defendants’ attempts to hide evidence and mislead police.
This included Mahek’s failure to give police the correct PIN for her phone, which led to officers setting off a factory reset, wiping evidence from her mobile.
Mr Thompson said that was a deliberate attempt to mislead police and led to a long wait for the detectives to get access to Mahek’s cloud account, which had some of the data from her phone.
At Leicester Crown Court, Saqib’s father Sajad Hussain described the moment police arrived at their home to tell them about their son’s death.
He said: “Everyone was in a state of denial and we were making fake scenarios up in our heads, hoping the news was wrong.
“His seven-year-old brother would keep crying his eyes out and saying it wasn’t true.
“We are still heartbroken and devastated by our huge loss. Our whole family has been torn apart.”
Mr Hussain said his family have been unable to grieve in peace due to the harassment they have been receiving.
He said: “We’ve had people harass, abuse and threaten us, as well as death threats.”
Mr Hussain added that the family found out on TikTok that some of the defendants had been released on bail before the police had a chance to inform them about it.
A statement from Hashim’s family read:
“I have never felt pain like this and never imagined something like this could happen to someone so loving and giving.
“None of us have recovered from losing him in such a brutal way.”
Hashim’s father described him as a “superstar” and since his death, the family have been “living in a nightmare that has shattered our lives”.
He continued: He was just 21 and had his whole life ahead of him. Even in his last moments, he was helping others.”
Turning to the defendants, Mr Ijazuddin asked:
“Was it worth it?
“You all made the decision to scare, harm, hurt my son and you made the decision not to let them escape that night when they fled in fear.
“Hashim was innocent – totally innocent. He drove his friend that night not knowing he was driving to his death.
“The fear he must have felt in those minutes being chased and then rammed off the road.
“They left Hashim and his friend to burn in a furnace of hell.
“They didn’t just take two lives that night – they took ours, too.”
Hashim’s older brother Zaheer said:
“Why did these vile humans take [Hashim] away? He never harmed anyone. He was generous, caring, funny and thoughtful.”
Patrick Upward KC, for Ansreen Bukhari, said:
“For months [Ansreen Bukhari] had been under pressure from Saqib and we invite your honour not to ignore the pressure – threats were being made to expose what had taken place between them, threats to expose photographs, all of which was pretty horrifying.”
He said that as a mother, Ansreen “knows the effect of what she did – her moments of weakness – have caused as time goes by. The wickedness of Saqib is but part of what happened and led her to act in her weakness”.
Mr Upward added: “She will have to spend the rest of her life living in the shadow of her shame.”
Christopher Millington KC, for Mahek Bukhari, said Saqib Hussain caused the TikToker and her mother “great stress and anxiety”.
He said: “Saqib was engaged in serious criminal behaviour towards Ansreen and Mahek after Ansreen tried to end the relationship.
“He was sometimes threatening with an underlying theme of coming to the family home with his mates to confront them.
“Decisions were taken and intentions were formed on the spur of the moment on the A46.
“The evidence does not establish an intention to kill, which makes a difference on the facts of this case.”
Judge Timothy Spencer KC told the court:
“The prosecution categorised this as a story of love, obsession and extortion and in that they were right. They were also right in categorising this case as one of cold-blooded murder.”
Saying that Mahek and Ansreen caused a deadly “maelstrom”, he continued:
“TikTok and Instagram lie at the heart of this case. You, Mahek Bukhari, being an influencer on both platforms. That was the reason you dropped out of university.
“Had you not done so you would be a young graduate with your whole life ahead of you.
“But now you confine yourself to prison for all of your best years.”
“It was the reason you, Ansreen Bukhari, became your daughter’s chaperone but it was also the reason your head was turned towards the perceived glamour, far removed from the life you had lived until then as a mother and a housewife in Stoke on Trent.”
The judge told Ansreen he believed she never owned up to the full extent of the affair.
The judge also regarded Mahek Bukhari as “immature below your years”. He told her:
“Your fame through your career as an influencer has made you utterly self-obsessed with a wholly unjust sense of self-entitledness.”
Mahek Bukhari was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 31 years and eight months. The 332 days she spent on remand will be deducted from that.
Raees Jamal received a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 36 years.
Both Ansreen Bukhari and Rekan Karwan will serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.
Ameer Jamal was jailed for 14 years and eight months.
Sanaf Gulamustafa was sentenced to 14 years and nine months.
Natasha Akhtar was jailed for 11 years and eight months.
Before concluding the case, Judge Spencer praised Leicestershire Police officers involved in preparing the case for trial, as well as family liaison officers.
He added: “Those officers are a credit to themselves and to the force they serve.”