May 21, 2020 Faith Matters

Two more suspects arrested on suspicion of murdering teenage law student

Murder squad detectives have arrested two more suspects after a teenage law student was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

Lancashire Police said the pair, aged 34 and 24, were arrested on suspicion of the murder of 19-year-old Aya Hachem.

A total of 13 people have now been held by police after Ms Hachem was hit by one of several shots fired from a vehicle as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

She died from a single wound to the chest.

Nine men and one woman, all aged between 24 and 39 and all from Blackburn, are now being questioned on suspicion of murder.

One woman and two men are being held on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Earlier on Thursday, detectives were granted an additional 36 hours by magistrates to question three of the murder suspects, who were first arrested on Monday.

Aya’s father Ismail Hachem told BBC Asian Network he had hoped his family would be safe in Britain after fleeing Lebanon more than a decade ago.

Mr Hachem had tried to call his daughter repeatedly when she did not return from the supermarket and did not know where she was until police came to his home later.

“I start crying … cause all my dreams, Aya,” Mr Hachem said.

“I thought I would be safe here … in this small town. No big problems.”

Police believe Miss Hachem was not the intended target of the attack, which took place in broad daylight on a busy main road near a Lidl supermarket in the town centre.

The Lebanese-born teenager, a second year student at the University of Salford, died in hospital a short time after emergency services were called to the scene in King Street at around 3pm.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, from Lancashire Constabulary’s major investigation team, said: “This is a very fast moving investigation, with information coming in from various places which we are reacting swiftly to.

“I continue to appeal to people who think they know who was involved in the tragic shooting of Aya but haven’t spoken to us yet to do the right thing and make contact.

“Aya, the innocent victim in all of this, along with her family, deserve justice and it is people telling us what they know that will help us find the people or person responsible.”

A number of people were travelling in the light green/silver Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired close to the Lidl store.

The vehicle, with the registration number SV53 UBP, was abandoned a short time later in nearby Wellington Road and seized for forensic examination.

Any information or video footage can be sent via the major incident portal at Anybody with information should contact 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.