The lure of social media and the ‘rapid fame’ it brings is at the heart of a double murder by an influencer and her mother, a judge ruled yesterday.
Fashion and beauty blogger Mehek Bukhari, 24, and her mother Ansreen Bukhari, 46, both jailed for life, together caused a deadly ‘maelstrom’ that resulted in the deaths of two men in a high-speed car chase .
TikTok and Instagram influencer Bukhari recruited ‘followers’ to ‘jump’ on her married mother’s 21-year-old lover Saqib Hussain after he blackmailed her and threatened to reveal their dating affair. three years.
Mr Hussain, accompanied by his friend Hashim Ijazuddin, 21, was lured into a Tesco car park on the pretext that the mother and daughter were returning the £3,000 he said he spent on Ms Bukhari during their affair.
But they were ambushed, chased by two cars containing eight people, including Bukhari and his mother, and died in a fireball on the A46 near Leicester in February last year.
Mehek Bukhari and her mother, both from Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, have been jailed for life for murder
Saqib Hussain (left), 21, and his friend Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin (right), also 21, were killed in a fireball on the A46 near Leicester in February last year after a deadly chase at 160 km/h.
Mehek Bukhari (left) and her mother Ansreen Bukhari (right) were found guilty of the murders of Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin during a high-speed car chase in February 2022.
Handing down the sentence at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Timothy Spencer KC jailed ‘self-obsessed’ Bukhari for a minimum of 31 years and eight months, and her mother, who appeared in several of her videos online, for at least 26 years and nine months.
The judge pointed to the negative impact of social media behind the murders.
Speaking to his daughter, he said: “Your ridiculous fame throughout your career as an influencer has left you utterly obsessed with a totally unwarranted sense of entitlement and a seeming lack of awareness of the impact you have on people. others, unaware of the damage you are doing.
“The fact that your solution to your mother’s problems was to hire some of your male followers to beat up Saqib Hussain speaks volumes about your distorted values and perhaps also about the false world of influence you embraced with so much of enthusiasm.”
The court heard that Bukhari was aware of her mother’s affair and was “happy to tolerate it, even approve of it”. Mr. Hussain was targeted when he threatened to tell the husband and son of Ansreen Bukhari about the matter.
Jurors heard a shocking 999 call that Mr Hussain, a baker, made from the passenger seat of a Skoda Fabia as he was being chased down a motorway at 70mph – which ended in shouting and the sound of a collision.
Mr Hussain told the driver: “They are trying to get me off the road. They are trying to kill me.
Rekhan Karwan, 29, from Leicester, and Raees Jamal, 23, from Loughborough, who were driving the pursuing vehicles, were convicted of murder and jailed for a minimum of 26 years and ten months, and 36 years respectively.
TikTok influencer Mehek Bukhari (right) and her mother Ansreen Bukhari (left) have been jailed
Fellow defendants Rekhan Karwan (left) and Raees Jamal (right) were also found guilty of two counts of murder.
The judge said Bukhari approached Karwan as an “intermediary” before “bringing in Raees Jamal”. He said it was no coincidence that Karwan got behind the wheel of the Audi during the fatal chase.
The judge also suggested Jamal was fascinated by Bukhari, despite having a ‘sort of relationship’ with co-defendant Natasha Akhtar, and was happy to ‘do whatever she wanted’, reports BBC .
Akhtar, 23, from Birmingham, was jailed for 11 years and eight months, Ameer Jamal, 28, from Leicester, for 14 years and Sanaf Gulamustafa, 23, also from Leicester, for 14 years – all for manslaughter.
After Bukhari and her mother were jailed for life on Friday, the heartbroken families of the two victims have paid heartfelt tributes.
Mr Ijazuddin’s family said that “he was just helping his friend, which resulted in his death”.
And Mr Hussain’s ‘broken’ family described the 21-year-old as a ‘much-loved young man’, adding: ‘I don’t think we got justice when we are now on a life sentence.
Mr. Ijazuddin’s family said after the sentencing: “The day we found out that Hashim was dead, our world fell apart. His death changed everything.
“Everyone who knew Hashim loved him. His death is not only a huge loss for our family but also for our whole community.
“Hashim was a cheeky young man who was always smiling, a handsome man who was handsome inside and out. He would do anything for anyone, was very caring and had a very good heart.
“Hashim would always put others first and wouldn’t hesitate to help others if they needed it. On that tragic day, he was simply helping his friend, which resulted in his death.
“It was extremely painful, not only to lose Hashim at such a young age, but also in the circumstances in which we lost him.
“We will always be extremely proud of Hashim. Whatever he did in life, we know he would have excelled at it. Hashim was and always will be our superstar and our person in a million.
The family also thanked the police, the CPS and the prosecutor for their support.
Mr Hussain’s family added: “Saqib was a much loved young man. He was kind, compassionate, caring, and sensible. My family was devastated by this senseless act and we still struggle to come to terms with the enormity of our loss. I don’t think we got justice since we are now sentenced to life.
They added that they were “grateful that the courts have uncovered all the lies attributed to my son Saqib”.
The family continued, “Thank goodness the jury saw through and delivered the verdicts our children deserve. Saqib’s death brought so much sadness, not only to his family, but to everyone who knew him.
They also thanked the police, CPS, support officers, local schools and the local mosque.
The heartbreaking statement continues: “I never imagined that I would have to bury one of my children; that I’d spend every waking moment suddenly expecting him to come back and tell me everything was fine; I keep looking for his face whenever I’m in public even though I know it’s impossible.
“This grief of losing Saqib was further compounded by having to relive over and over again the horror of my son’s death in court.
“My family and I would like to thank Leicestershire Police very much for their diligence, thoroughness and hard work in ensuring that those responsible for Saqib’s death do not escape justice.”
“We have hope and trust that Saqib has found eternal rest with Our Lord and that we can be with Him again when we pass away. We also pray that no family will have to go through our experience.
Bukhari even hugged her father and said ‘call me’ as she was taken to prison for life alongside her mother. She was “smiling and laughing” during the quieter parts of the trial and playing casually when the jury retired, the BBC reported.
The scene of Mr Ijazuddin’s car wreck on the A46 in February last year
Dressed in a pink jumpsuit, Mehek (left) was remarkably reassured just hours after the crash when she told police she and her mother had been to Nottingham.
Prior to her arrest 18 months ago, she boasted of having more than 126,000 followers on TikTok and another 43,000 on Instagram.
The judge continued: “The prosecution called it a romance, obsession and extortion and in that they were right. They were also right to call this case a cold-blooded murder.
The judge said Bukhari’s mother’s head had been turned by the “perceived glamour” of her daughter’s career.
He told her, “You are the adult in this group and you should have behaved like an adult, but you let your understandable concern about the exposure rob you of any rational judgment. »
The lead investigating officer in charge of the case, Detective Inspector Mark Parish, of Leicestershire Police, said it was a “callous and cold-blooded attack”.
Judge Spencer ended the hearing with a formal judicial recommendation praising the Leicestershire police officers involved in preparing the case for trial, as well as the Family Liaison Officers.
Another defendant, Mohammed Patel, had previously been found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.