THE criminal past of the businessman behind the plot which ended in the fatal shooting of Aya Hachem can now be fully revealed.

Today seven men were jailed for a total of more than 200 years for Aya's murder.

On Tuesday it took a jury at Preston Crown Court less than three hours to find seven men guilty of the murder of Aya Hachem and the attempted murder of Pachah Khan.

At the centre of the conniving plan to kill was Feroz Suleman, a businessman from Shear Brow, Blackburn.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 34 years by Mr Justice Turner.

Along with his family, Suleman owned three branches of tyre shops in the town – RI Tyres on Burnley Road, Copy Nook and King Street.

Over the course of the 11-week trial, the jury heard how Suleman had become embroiled in a bitter feud with the neighbour of his King Street business, Mr Khan, when the car wash proprietor decided to branch out into selling tyres.

It was this bad blood which ultimately led to the tragic killing of Aya, who had been out buying groceries when she was shot dead on May 17, 2020.

The court heard how Suleman planned to have Pachah Khan killed, relying on his old friend Ayaz Hussain, who was jailed for a minimum of 32 years, to help him recruit the hitman.

It was Zamir Raja, from Manchester, that was selected for the job. He received a minimum sentence of 34 years.

And while Raja’s intended target was Mr Khan, it was Aya, walking on the pavement outside the business, who was fatally struck.

However this wasn’t the first time Suleman had killed, as the jury found out over the course of the 11-week trial.

In 2002, Suleman killed a pedestrian as he sped through a junction in his BMW.

He was jailed for three and a half years for death by dangerous driving after Preston Crown Court heard how he had abandoned his car following the accident which killed Terence Brennan, 67.

Ten minutes later he rang police and told them his car had been stolen from outside a bank. Suleman, then 21, only admitted his guilt on the day his trial was due to start.

This evidence was disclosed to the jury following an application to the judge.

Mr Brennan was walking on Higher Eanam, Blackburn, carrying a shopping bag around 8.45pm. He was crossing the road when struck by the BMW coming down Higher Audley.

Witnesses described the engine revving, screeching tyres and a sound like an explosion. When he was struck Mr Brennan Suleman was travelling around 54mph.

At the time of the accident Suleman’s driving licence had been revoked and he had no insurance and no MOT.

And in 2014 Suleman and one of his co-defendants Ayaz Hussain appeared in court together for an assault on an RI Tyres worker.

Magistrates back then were told how the man was locked in a room with Suleman and Hussain and assaulted after the victim had ‘said something derogatory about Suleman’s sister.’ She said the man was punched on the temple, hit on the head with a battery charger and kicked before metal items were thrown at his head.

The court heard Feroz Suleman then warned the victim: “That was nothing, I didn’t go full force. If you go to the police I will kill you.”

The defence solicitor at that 2014 hearing claimed his client was ‘not a violent man’.

They both pleaded guilty to assault and Suleman and Hussain were both ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and to pay £100 compensation.

Suleman was described by the murder trial prosecution as a narcissist, as someone who liked to be in charge at all times and who had been described as the ‘captain of the ship’.

He liked the finer things in life – driving around in a rented Mercedes, wearing £1,000 trainers which he later claimed were fake in a bid to support his case.

He enjoyed luxury holidays to Dubai with the ‘RI Tyres lads’ and would regularly be seen socialising in and around Blackburn.