Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

TikTok influencer ‘set a trap’ for mother’s ex-lover, murder trial told

Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, died in a crash on the A46

Richard Vernalls
Friday 28 October 2022 07:19 BST
<p>Saqib Hussain, who along with his friend, Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, died in a crash in February </p>

Saqib Hussain, who along with his friend, Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, died in a crash in February

A TikTok influencer whose mother was being blackmailed with a sex tape by her young lover allegedly “set a trap” which ended with him being rammed off the road, killing him and his friend, a murder trial has heard.

Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, both 21, and from Banbury, Oxfordshire, are said by prosecutors to have been killed when their Skoda was sent crashing into a tree where it was “virtually split in two” by the impact, before catching fire, just after midnight on February 11 2022.

In a panicked 999 call to police made by front-seat passenger Mr Hussain in the final moments of his life, he claimed Mr Ijazuddin’s silver Skoda Fabia was being “blocked in” and rammed by balaclava-wearing assailants, following in two pursuing cars.

In the recording, played to Leicester Crown Court on Thursday, he said: “They’re trying to ram us off the road. Please, I’m begging you, I’m going to die.”

He was heard to say “Oh my God”, before there was a scream, with the call cutting off abruptly at the sound of an impact.

Footage from police attending the crash scene, at about 1.35am, showed the Skoda Fabia in flames, resting against a tree in the central reservation of the A46 dual carriageway, by the Six Hills junction near Leicester.

Officers saw “a body hanging out the remains of the nearside passenger seat”, but the heat of the flames prevented rescuers from helping Mr Hussain, who worked at a bakery.

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, Mr Ijazuddin’s body was also recovered, with the two men only identifiable by “dental records”, the jury heard.

The pair had been friends since school, with Mr Ijazuddin agreeing to drive his friend to Leicester that night – described by prosecutors in court as a “fatal mistake that cost him his life”.

A story of love, murder, anger, attempts at extortion and - ultimately - murder

Collingwood Thompson KC, prosecuting

Collingwood Thompson KC, prosecuting, told jurors the 999 call was key to the Crown’s case that the crash “was not simply a tragic road traffic accident but a deliberate murder”.

Of the subsequent police investigation, triggered by Mr Hussain’s call and death, the Crown’s barrister said: “It revealed a story of love, murder, anger, attempts at extortion and – ultimately – murder.”

Facing trial after denying the men’s murders are Ansreen Bukhari, 45, and her daughter Mahek Bukhari, 23, both of George Eardley Close, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with six others.

The court was told that Mr Hussain’s family would later tell detectives he was having a three-year affair with older woman Ansreen, who was married with children.

Mr Hussain “appeared to be in love” with Mrs Bukhari, whom he knew as Anzy, while her daughter Mahek “was aware of the relationship between him and her mother and happy to tolerate it, if not approve”, said Mr Thompson.

Although starting as “a bit of fun”, and described as “on and off”, he said: “The relationship, certainly on Saqib’s side, changed, and he told his sister he was in love with her.”

Over the course of their tryst, Mr Hussain’s family estimated he spent between £2,000 and £3,000 taking her out, meeting at hotels and dining in restaurants.

It is the existence of sexually explicit material that is at the centre of this case

Collingwood Thompson KC, prosecuting

Mr Thompson said Mr Hussain had also recorded “sexually explicit” material; both videos and photos, of the couple, later found on his Instagram account.

“It is the existence of sexually explicit material that is at the centre of this case,” he told jurors.

By January 2022, Mrs Bukhari was trying to end the relationship, against Mr Hussain’s wishes, and he “became increasingly obsessive, professing his love for her… begging her to continue with the relationship”.

“On the other hand, this alternated with messages showing anger and frustration she would not return his calls,” said Mr Thompson.

The barrister added: “That anger manifested itself in an attempt to blackmail Ansreen Bukhari in order to persuade her to contact him.

“What he did was to threaten to send the sexually explicit material that existed on his Instagram to her husband, (and) to her son unless she agreed to speak to him.”

The Crown have alleged that WhatsApp messages show that by January 4 Mrs Bukhari had confided to her daughter about the blackmail attempt.

Setting out a possible motive to “silence” Mr Hussain, Mr Thompson alleged the explicit material could have “ruined” Mrs Bukhari’s marriage and “damaged her reputation”.

He added that it “also would have affected Mahek’s relationship her father”.

“Even more so, Mahek Bukhari was a social media influencer, very active,” said Mr Thompson.

(She had a) large number of followers, TikTok and such, and revelation of the affair and her role in it might of course damage her standing with her (online) followers.

“(She had a) large number of followers, TikTok and such, and revelation of the affair and her role in it might of course damage her standing with her (online) followers.”

On January 4, her daughter responded to her mother, saying: “I’ll soon get him jumped by guys and he won’t know what day it is.”

Mr Thompson told the jury: “Well, of course, subsequently, he (Mr Hussain) was indeed jumped by – mostly – guys and killed.”

When Mr Hussain also tried to get Mahek – known as Maya – to get her mother to reply to him, the social media influencer replied: “She ain’t a dog, don’t f****** raise your voice and tell me what to do.”

She would later text her mother: “Leave it to me.”

The women appeared in the dock alongside co-accused Rekan Karwan, 28, of Tomlin Road, Leicester, and Raees Jamal, 22, of Lingdale Close, Loughborough, who are both alleged to have recruited others, including Natasha Akhtar, 22, of Alum Rock Road, Birmingham, who owned one of the cars involved in the alleged pursuit.

Also in the dock are Sanaf Gulammustafa, 22, of Littlemore Close, and Ameer Jamal, 27, of Catherine Street, and Mohammed Patel, 20, of Braybrooke Road, all Leicester.

Outlining the alleged plot, Mr Thompson said an agreement was initially allegedly struck with Mr Hussain for Mrs Bukhari to pay up to £3,000 for his silence about the affair.

“These messages and these threats reflect no credit on Saqib whatsoever and would in fact amount to a criminal offence of blackmail,” he said.

“Whatever that position might have been, it presented Ansreen and Mahek Bukhari with a problem.”

He added: “He’d have got the money.

“But of course he would still be in possession of explicit videos and pictures which in theory he could send any time, even after he’d got the money.”

He added: “It is clear that Mahek must have turned to one of her friends to assist, and that friend was Rekan Karwan.

“The Crown infer Karwan must have then started speaking to others, who became involved: Raees Jamal, who was also known to Mahek Bukhari.

“He (Jamal) in turn recruited others to help him, notably Natasha Akhtar whose car was used in course of that evening, and the car used, we say, to ram the Skoda Fabia.

“Others became involved.

“Between them, the Crown allege, they set a trap.

“The idea was to lure Saqib into a meeting, the lure being the promise to return the money and to see Ansreen Bukhari.

“Once at that meeting he would then be confronted with numerical superiority and it is hoped, no doubt, he would hand his phone over.

“The Crown case, as you may gather, is, however, if he was not willing to hand his phone over, they were prepared to cause him really serious injury to achieve their ends – if not to silence him permanently.”

The three women and five men deny two counts of murder and two alternative charges of manslaughter and the trial continues.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in