THE hitman accused of killing a law student fled to Europe just days after the drive-by shooting gone wrong, a court heard.

Zamir Raja, who the prosecution say is the man responsible for firing the weapon that killed 19-year-old Aya Hachem, travelled to Portugal via Dublin on May 26 2020 – nine days after the incident took place on King Street, Blackburn.

Three days later Anthony Ennis, the man accused of being Raja’s driver at the time of the hit, flew to the continent on his brother’s passport, meeting up with Raja in scenes that were caught on CCTV. The pair could initially be seen pretending they don’t know each other, before they later embraced in a ‘brotherly hug’.

Prosecuting the case, Nicholas Johnson QC told the jury at Preston Crown Court: “They thought they had got away with murder. Home free.”

By this stage back in East Lancashire, Feroz Suleman, Judy Chapman, Kashif Manzoor, Abubkar Satia, Uthman Satia and Hussain Ayaz had all been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the incident.

All eight defendants played an important role in the killing of Aya, the prosecution say.

Ten days after he had travelled to Portugal, Raja returned to the UK in a car he had hired with Ennis in Portugal. He was arrested at London's Euston Station as he was waiting to board a train for Manchester.

When the car was searched, rental documentation bearing Ennis’ fingerprints was found alongside two female wigs.

Almost a month later, Ennis was arrested by Spanish police after he had travelled to the country from Portugal.

He was extradited to the UK.

At the end of last week, jurors heard how Aya had been shot dead in an on-going feud between Suleman and a business rival named Pachah Khan.

The prosecution's case is that Suleman hired a hitman, Raja, to have Mr Khan killed.

However, their plan went horribly awry on May 17, 2020, when Miss Hachem was shot dead as she walked home from the Lidl supermarket.

The aspiring solicitor died shortly after the incident.

All eight defendants deny Aya’s murder and the attempted murder of Pachah Khan.