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TikTok star Mahek Bukhari blows kiss to dad as she is jailed for life alongside mum for murder of two men in car chase
1 September 2023, 16:34 | Updated: 1 September 2023, 19:55
A TikTok influencer and her mother have been jailed for a combined total of at least 58 years for murdering two men in a high-speed car chase.
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Mahek Bukhari, 24, and mother Ansreen Bukhari, deliberately rammed the pair off the road in an "ambush" in Leicester in February last year.
The content creator could be seen wiping away tears in the dock at Leicester Crown Court as she was sentenced by Judge Timothy Spencer KC on Friday for their involvement in the killing of Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin in February last year. But she also blew a kiss to her father as she was taken down to begin her sentence.
Fellow defendants Rekhan Karwan, 29, and Raees Jamal, 23, were also jailed for life with a minimum of 26 years and 10 months and 31 years respectively for two counts of murder.
Natasha Akhtar, 23, was jailed for 11 years and eight months, and Ameer Jamal, 28, and Sanaf Gulamustafa, 23, were jailed for 14 years and eight months and 14 years and nine months respectively for two counts of manslaughter.
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The victims, from Banbury in Oxfordshire, were in a Skoda being chased by Audi and Seat vehicles containing the eight defendants.
Mahek was said to have taken part in the ambush after Mr Hussain threatened to use sexually-explicit material to expose a long-running affair he had been having with her mother, who was married.
The court was told Mr Ijazuddin's car "split in two" and caught fire after hitting a tree at the Six Hills junction in the early hours of February 11 last year.
In a victim impact statement read out in court by prosecutor Collingwood Thompson KC, Mr Hussain's dad Sajad described his son as his "pride and joy".
"The joy Saqib bought into our lives was immeasurable," he said.
"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."
He described how Saqib's mother fell to the floor "crying and screaming 'my child, my child'", when they were told by police their son had died.
Mr Ijazuddin's father Sikander Hayat told the courtroom his family have been living 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."
In mitigation for Mahek before sentencing, barrister Christopher Millington KC said his client was "somewhat immature" and had been left in an "invidious" position by her mother's affair, but she had not intended the outcome 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."
Mitigating for Ansreen, Patrick Upward KC said his client was a "respectable family woman" for many years.
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."
Sentencing, Judge Spencer said Mahek Bukhari's "tawdry fame" as a social media influencer 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".
He agreed with the prosecution's statement that it was a case of "love, obsession, extortion and blackmail".
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."