Three men arrested over Aya Hachem murder

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Three men have been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Aya Hachem in Blackburn on Sunday.

The men, aged 39, 33 and 36 from Blackburn, are still being questioned in police custody.

Aya, 19, was shot in broad daylight as she was out shopping close to a Lidl supermarket in Blackburn at around 3pm.

Emergency services attended shortly afterwards and she was taken to hospital but was sadly pronounced dead a short time later.

A subsequent post mortem examination has revealed that Aya died as a result of a gunshot wound to her chest.

Aya was a second-year law student at Salford University. She had come to the UK several years ago from her native Lebanon.

Before she was fatally shot, a light silver/ green Toyota Avensis drove past her. Shots were fired from the vehicle and one of them struck and killed her, although officers believe she was not the intended target of the attack. The Avensis was recovered by police on Sunday.

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Supt Andy Cribbin, said: “Our determination to find who was responsible for the death of Aya continues and we have a large team of detectives working on the inquiry.

“We know that a lot of people have expressed their support for the police investigation and I would like to thank them for that. However, we know of a number of videos of the incident are on social media and it is important that people formally report these to us as they are potential evidence. We would also ask people, even if they are well intentioned, not to share these videos out of respect for Aya and her family.

The car that was allegedly used in the attack

“Similarly, I would urge people not to speculate online about the cause of the incident and to instead share what they know with us, as their information could prove vital.”

A police presence remains in the area around the shooting whilst enquiries continue.

Det Supt Cribbin added: “We appreciate that there will still be a lot of concern in the local community and so I would like to reassure people that there will still be additional patrols out and about. If you have any concerns or information about the incident, feel free to approach those officers.

“I would also like to stress again that we are not treating the shooting as terrorism-related or a racially-motivated.”

Aya’s family previously released an emotional tribute to her.

They said: “Our beautiful 19-year-old daughter Aya has been taken from us in the most horrific circumstances. She was the most loyal, devoted daughter who enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her brothers and sisters Ibraham, Assil and Amir.

“She excelled in her studies both at Blackburn Central High School and at Salford University where she was in her second year and dreamed of becoming a solicitor. She had just completed her exams and was learning to drive.”

Meanwhile, several fundraising pages have been set up in the name of the 19-year-old, although it is unclear if any of them have the backing of the family.

One Just Giving page was set up by 21-year-old Hannan Qazi from East London who saw the story on social media. The fundraiser is currently on around £35,000 to build a mosque in Niger, Africa.

Another fundraiser was set up by the charity Global One who are pledging to build a legacy for Aya in the form of water wells for vulnerable women and girls in water scarce communities.

Any information or video footage can be sent in to the police via the major incident portal here. Anybody with any other information is asked to get in touch on 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18th, or anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

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