Mahek Bukhari had developed a reputation as an online personality, frequently sharing make-up and lifestyle tips as well as fashion advice. With nearly 130,000 followers on TikTok, 45,000 on Instagram and 3,900 subscribers to her YouTube channel, Mahek was beginning to create a name for herself beyond her immediate circle.
A scroll down her social media platforms reveals a fashion graduate with numerous friends, who spent her weekends partying in Manchester and dancing to 10-second music clips in her family bedroom.
Her 46-year-old mother, Ansreen Bukhari, regularly appears alongside her. In one video, the two women can be seen dancing with one another at their family home in Stoke-on-Trent.
Yet what appeared as a close family bond took a sinister turn in February 2022, in what became a “story of love, obsession, extortion and, ultimately – cold-blooded murder”.
Ansreen had begun a secret relationship with a younger man which only her daughter knew about. Despite the affair starting as “a bit of fun”, Saqib Hussain quickly fell in love with the older woman and spent thousands of pounds wooing her.
However, Ansreen had been married for more than two decades and had no intention of leaving her husband. By January 2022, she was attempting to end the relationship against her younger lover’s wishes, with Hussain becoming increasingly obsessive.
Contact between the two dramatically soured, with Hussain becoming frustrated after Ms Bukhari stopped returning his calls. In what would prove a fatal mistake on his behalf, he turned to blackmail.
He began to threaten to send them to Ms Bukhari’s husband and son.
With her whirlwind romance soon becoming a nightmare, Ansreen turned to her daughter for advice and assistance. In one ominous Whatsapp message, Mahek said: “I’ll soon get him jumped by guys and he won’t know what day it is.”
It was from then onwards that a drastic plan was set in motion to silence Hussain, in whichever way was necessary and regardless of the cost.
An agreement was initially struck for Ms Bukhari to pay her former lover up to £3,000 for his silence about the affair. The deal remained a problem, however, as the two women would have no confirmation that Hussain had deleted the her pictures and videos from his devices after the payment.
It was at this point that Mahek turned to her friend, 28-year-old Rekan Karwan, for assistance. In turn, he recruited a number of others who would each play their part in setting a trap for Hussain, hoping that in numbers they could force him to hand over his phone.
Before midnight on 11 February 2022, Hussain travelled alongside his childhood friend, Mohammed Hashim Ijazuddin, to Leicester to meet the two women under false pretences.
Where a chase started and the dramatic crash resulted in Hussain and his friend Ijazuddin being engulfed in a fireball after their vehicle was rammed off the A46 dual carriageway.
Police footage taken at 1.35am showed the Skoda in flames, resting against the tree by the Six Hills junction. Both men were identified by their dental records after becoming trapped in the blaze.
Now, more than 18 months after the double tragedy, the mother and daughter have been convicted of murder, with Judge Timothy Spencer KC warning they face a “very serious sentence”.