FIVE men and a woman are due to stand trial for the murder of Blackburn law student Aya Hachem next May, it has been confirmed.

Innocent passer-by Miss Hachem, 19, was fatally shot as she walked to Lidl supermarket on King Street near her home in Blackburn, on May 17.

The first of two shots fired from a passing vehicle hit a building but the second hit the teenager in the chest.

Prosecutor, Alex Langhorn said it was the Crown’s case that the shooting arose “out of a business dispute between two tyre companies”.

It is believed the actual target was Pashar Khan, who owns the Quick Tyre and Quick Shine car wash business in Whalley Banks, Blackburn.

Mr Langhorn said: “Tragically in the cross-fire Miss Hachem was shot and killed.”

Appearing over the video links from either Preston, Styal or Altcourse prisons, the six defendants, who are all charged with murdering Miss Hachem and attempting to murder Mr Khan, only spoke to confirm their names, dates of birth and British nationalities.

They were Blackburn residents Feroz Suleman, 39, of Shear Brow, Kashif Manzoor, 24, of Shakeshaft Street, Uthman Satia, 28, and Abubakir Satia, 31, both of Oxford Close, Ayaz Hussain, 34, of, Calgary Avenue; and Judy Chapman, 26, of St Hubert’s Road in Great Harwood.

Mr Langhorn said more people may be charged in relation to Miss Hachem’s death “but at this stage it’s unknown whether or how many further defendants there will be” on the indictment.

On Saturday, a closure order was issued for Suleman’s business, RI Tyres, including the branch on King Street, for up to three months, following an application by Lancashire Police.

Setting a trial date for May 4 with a minimum estimated length of 10 weeks, Judge Mark Brown, The Recorder of Preston said: “I am sure everybody will appreciate that the current pandemic crisis has caused huge challenges for the criminal justice system. At the present time jury trials are not taking place in Lancashire, albeit jury trials have commenced in certain parts of the country. Nonetheless it is not going to be a quick process in the sense there are a huge number of cases to be tried and inevitably that has an impact on when trials can be listed.

“This crown court has considered very carefully the position about this case and the earliest at the moment we can do is a trial on May 4, 2021, before Mr Justice Dove. I am keen to stress this is a provisional date in the sense that we are working hard and will continue to work hard to improve on it.”

None of the defendants were arraigned. That will take place at a plea and case management hearing on October 16.