THE JURY in a murder trial has been told details about a long-running feud between two Blackburn businesses.

The owners and employees of RI Tyres on King Street and next-door neighbours Quickshine Tyres had been dealt with by police on several occasions prior to the fatal shooting of Aya Hachem on May 17, 2020.

The Crown says Aya was the accidental victim of a hitman shooting, ordered by RI boss Feroz Suleman, with the intended target having been Quickshine owner Pachah Khan.

Prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC said that the feud started in early 2019 when Quickshine began selling tyres, after previously having restricted itself to washing cars.

He said that initially, incidents that came to the attention of the police were ‘relatively petty’ an amounted to little more than arguments between staff and attempts to steal customers from one another.

On Monday afternoon, prosecutor Alex Langhorn outlined a timeline of those incidents to the jury:

• January 13, 2019 - A call was made by Mr Khan to the police. He said that he had been threatened by Suleman and his brothers.

• January 17, 2019 – Mr Khan contacted the police again, stating that one of the cars being washed at Quickshine had been stolen from his forecourt. He told officers that he suspected someone at RI Tyres was responsible, however no one was ever identified.

• February 25, 2019 – Less than a month later and officers were called again, this time to reports of a disturbance on King Street, where around 15 people were said to be squaring up to each other.

• April 9, 2019 – Suleman sent Mr Khan a message saying ‘Bro, you guys are doing it again – going over to our customers and trying to get them to come over to you’. Mr Khan did not respond.

• April 22, 2019 - Suleman reported that he had been the victim of a racially motivated public disorder matter.

• May 15, 2019 - Police were called to attend a public order incident following reports that there was a fight ongoing between employees of RI Tyres and Quickshine. The argument was over poaching customers on the forecourt.

• May 19, 2019 - A few days later and Mr Khan reported further problems with RI Tyres to the police, alleging that one of his windows had been smashed.

• August 26, 2019 - Two calls were made to the police reporting men were in the street threatening each other.

• February 2020 - The police were called when employees from each business started to throw items, including bolts and scrap metal, at each from their respective garages.

• February 17, 2020 - Feroz’s brother Suhail Suleman posted a message in the RI Tyres WhatsApp group saying: “Feroz, get these lot wasted now. Put it in papers or Facebook.”

• February 19, 2020 - An officer attended to the garages to discuss the prospect of a partition wall being put in place to separate them. There were further issues when Mr Khan said he wanted a wall while Suleman wanted a fence.

• February 28, 2020 – An informal mediation meeting took place at Blackburn Town Centre police station, where issues were discussed. Further problems were raised when it came to paying for the partition, with Mr Khan saying he was unwilling to pay half.

• March 5, 2020 - A customer at Quickshine Tyres heard workers from RI Tyres shouting at the her, saying things like ‘why the hell are you giving business to that man, you should come to us and we’ll do the work for free’ and ‘he's not even British, he's just scum, he's a f****** paedophile, get back to where you came from, we will set fire to your place'.

• March 15, 2020 - Suleman sent an email to the police to say that the conflict had not stopped.

• March 19, 2020 - Suleman sent police another email saying someone had been to the garage to take measurements for the partition, but Khan had not allowed the man onto his property.

• March 26, 2020 – Mr Khan called the police and said RI Tyres staff were stealing his customers.

• April 19, 2020 – Police were called to reports of eight men fighting between the businesses, using stones as weapons. When they arrived, no such disturbance seemed to be taking place.

• May 1, 2020 - Suleman called the police once again to say Mr Khan had prevented workmen from entering Quickshine’s yard to carry out work.

A little over two weeks later Aya was shot dead as she walked along King Street on her way home from Lidl supermarket.

It is the prosecution’s case that Feroz Suleman hired a hitman, Zamir Raja, to kill Mr Khan.

During the prosecution opening, it was heard how the law student was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” when she was killed amid a feud between the two neighbouring tyre firm owners.

Mr Johnson QC said: “The bad blood between the men had been building over a period of time and it got to the extent that a plan was hatched to kill Mr Khan and/or someone else at Quickshine Tyres.

“What happened was planned in detail and involved many people. The prosecution alleges that each of the eight people in the dock played their part.

“At 3pm on Sunday May 17, Aya Hachem was shot dead whilst walking along King Street in Blackburn. She was shot by Zamir Raja who was sitting in the back of a Toyota Avensis being driven by Anthony Ennis.

“Raja was a hitman brought in from south Manchester to do a job. He fired two shots from the car which was being driven past Quickshine Tyres. Raja’s intended target, or one of his intended targets, was Pachah Khan.

“Zamir Raja’s first shot hit one of the windows of Quickshine, the second hit Aya Hachem. Aya had no connection to either Mr Khan, his business, Zamir Raja, or anyone else in this case. She was simply unlucky. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Feroz Suleman, 40, of, Blackburn; Raja, 33, of Stretford, Greater Manchester; Ennis, 31, of Partington, Greater Manchester; Kashif Manzoor, 26, of, Blackburn; Ayaz Hussain, 35, of Blackburn; Abubakr Satia, 32, of Blackburn; his brother Uthman Satia, 29, of Great Harwood; and Judy Chapman, 26, of Great Harwood, all deny murder.

All eight have also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Mr Khan.

The trial is estimated to last up to 10 weeks.