A touching tribute to Aya Hachem has been shared by her family.

The 19-year-old was killed by shots fired from a passing car in Blackburn last Sunday.  Her funeral took place in her home country of Lebanon, in the village of Kholeileh.

The Lebanese Youth Foundation say they spoke to Aya Hachem's father since she was laid to rest and were sent a heart breaking message which has now been shared with permission. 

The tribute read, "Aya, our beloved daughter died in such a horrific way. it was a tragedy. Aya was a 19 year old aspiring solicitor who wanted the best for everyone,she herself wanted to bring justice to those who were innocent, yet she was unjustly killed.

"To think that all her dreams were crushed by a single bullet is horrifying. she was 19 years old!! she never got a chance to graduate, she never got a chance to enjoy her life, she never got to experience any of it. all of this because someone decided it was okay to mercilessly shoot our daughter. She out of all people did not deserve such an ending like this. 

"To think that day, she finished her 2nd year law exams at Salford University, and was so excited about what the future held for her like doing her driving test or what car she was going to get once she passes her driving test, all for her to walk down a street and get shot in the shoulder. she was a woman who wanted to pick up a few vegetables for a family iftar and never returned with any. 

"To even THINK that a simple 5 minute journey was going to be that last 5 minutes of our daughter’s life is something that we still can’t understand at all. How can someone think it’s okay to take someone’s life away like that? How can such a VILE human being think it’s okay to crush all her goals and dreams like that? She was an innocent person with good intentions that had a positive effect on all of us.

"To think that Aya and her mother used to discuss what graduation dress she was going to wear next year, but instead her mother dressed her in her funeral dress because she never got to graduate.

"She died a fasting person. She never drank water or ate. She didn’t break her fast because she never got a chance to after she was killed on the 17th of May past 3 o’clock. She had nothing in her system.

"She volunteered to make Blackburn a better place. she was a trustee at the children society. she was also part of Law society too. she did all she can to help everyone and anyone. she respected everyone regardless of race, religion, or beliefs. she was a mature person. All her efforts to make Blackburn a better place was taken for granted.

"When everything was going well , when we received our residency permit after all those difficult years that were filled with stress and tension. When we finally got to experience the good side of life. Everything just went downhill with a bullet."

The tribute adds, "To think that a SINGLE bullet discharged from a gun single-handedly ruined her entire life and ended her in a graveyard, caused major trauma to us as a family, and caused major distress and sadness to our close family and friends, and a bullet that sent shock waves among many communities in the UK, and even to other countries too.

"We came to England to seek safety because we didn’t think our home country fulfilled that. we came to England for a better lifestyle. Us parents sacrificed a lot for the sake of their happiness. and you tell me that what we’ve been trying to do for the past 7 years has gone to waste?

"We came to England to seek safety, yet our daughter was mercilessly killed. are we supposed to feel safe now? how do you expect us to walk down the streets of Blackburn without thinking that it could be us next? how do you expect us to walk down the streets where she was shot?"

It continues, "She had 2 younger siblings that she loved so very much, who are majorly affected by this. All that comes out of their mouth is “where’s Aya?” “is she never coming home?”. What am I supposed to tell them? We don’t think we’ll be able to live in blackburn anymore after this, especially her mother who hasn’t slept in days or has eaten properly.

"Her mother, on our journey from the house to the hospital to see the body. she reminisced moments with her daughter like the school she went to, the shop they used to go to together, the street they Aya used to walk to get to her school, all the things that they did together. 

"To her mother, she was more than a daughter but a best friend. they did everything together and their bond was unbreakable. She was like a second mother to her siblings. She took care of me too as a father, her role wasn’t supposed to be to take care of us, but she did it anyway, because she loved to help. She was a hardworking and dedicated student and a loving daughter too. she had it all."

The tribute says, "I certainly hope that whoever mercilessly shot our daughter gets the maximum sentence and is not pitied upon. what he did to our daughter is not something us as a family can recover from.

"We don’t feel safe anymore. the trauma and pain that derived from this is not something that can go away. I don’t think we will ever recover from this. 

"We would do anything, and I mean anything just so we can get her back."