In a case deeply rooted in the obsessions cultivated in the realm of social media influence, former TikTok influencer Mahek Bukhari and her mother, Ansreen Bukhari, were sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in the double murder that occurred in Leicester last year. The event, which culminated in a high-speed chase and a fiery crash, claimed the lives of two young men, Saqib Hussain and Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin.
In the judgement delivered by Timothy Spencer KC on Friday, it was revealed that the genesis of this tragic event lay in the complex entanglements and deteriorating relationship between Ansreen Bukhari and Hussain, which escalated to threatening extortion over explicit photographs. The ill-fated night began with a meetup arranged by Mahek under the guise of a financial exchange, involving a group of eight individuals, some masked and armed.
During the trial, the court heard a 999 call made by Hussain moments before the fatal crash, illustrating the terror and he and the Ijazuddin experienced as they were pursued by the group. This evidence was described by Judge Spencer as deeply moving and distressing.
Judge Spencer rebuked Mahek for her descent into self-absorption fostered by her engagement with platforms like TikTok and Instagram, highlighting the missed opportunities for a different life path. Similarly, Ansreen was criticized for succumbing to the illusionary glamour of the influencer world, which drastically diverted her from her earlier life as a housewife.
Other members of the group faced varying degrees of punishment, with Rekhan Karwan and Raees Jamal also receiving life sentences for their roles in the double murder, and three others being sentenced for manslaughter.
The families of the victims voiced their profound grief and loss in court, painting a vivid picture of the enduring impact of the tragedy. The defence argued the spur-of-the-moment decisions and lack of premeditated intent to kill, but these arguments found little sympathy with Judge Spencer, who emphasized the lack of immediate remorse or assistance offered to the victims post-crash.