Alison McBlain was walking along King Street, in the Whalley Banks area, at around 7.45pm on November 19, 2019, when she was struck by a Fiat Punto which had deliberately mounted the pavement.
Also seriously injured in that incident was a 28-year-old man from Blackburn who was walking with Ms McBlain at the time.
He has since made a full recovery, however, Ms McBlain sadly died in hospital on November 21, 2019.
After being found guilty of the murder of Ms McBlain and the attempted murder of the 28-year-old man, Kaylib Connolly, 19, of Ivy Street, Blackburn, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 14 years; and Dean Qayum (first image down), 21, of Patterdale Avenue, Blackburn, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years.
After being found guilty of the murder of Ms McBlain and attempted GBH in relation to the 28-year-old man Joshua Titterington (second image down), 27, of Scotland Bank Terrace, Blackburn was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 17 and a half years; and Karis Poynton, 28, of Whalley Road, Clayton-le-Moors was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 13 years.
John Chatwood, 26, of Walsh Street, Blackburn, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Ms McBlain and not guilty of the attempted murder of the 28-year-old man. He was given a 14-year custodial custody.
A 16-year-old boy from Blackburn, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of the murder and attempted murder.
Following the incident officers launched an investigation, analysing CCTV and mobile phone records.
They were also able to lift forensics from the Punto, despite the fact it had been abandoned and partially burnt out in an alleyway off Lower Hollin Bank Street, in an effort to destroy evidence.
During the investigation it transpired that the day before the attack the victims had arranged to buy £60 worth of drugs from Qayum and Connolly (third image down), who were part of a drug-dealing gang known as the ‘Bully Line’. However Ms McBlain and her companion made off without payment.
As a result the pair were actively being sought for a ‘revenge attack’, with members of the gang encouraging associates to alert them if they were sighted.
On the evening of the attack, Poynton (fourth image down) – an associate of the Bully Line – saw her friend Ms McBlain in a pharmacy in Blackburn and passed her location to the group knowing full well what they planned to do.
It is believed Connolly was driving the Punto when it struck Ms McBlain, while Qayum, Joshua Titterington and the 16-year-old boy were passengers. Chatwood was not present but was involved in the Bully Line and played a key part in organising the attack.
When Ms McBlain was struck by the car she was thrown around 40ft along the road, causing catastrophic injuries – including fatal injuries to her skull and brain – which she died from two days later.
DCI Lee Wilson, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “Alison McBlain – a mother, daughter and beloved friend to many – was deliberately run over and killed in a calculated, premeditated revenge slaying.
“Poynton played a key role initially, when she saw the victims and made a phone call to one of the Bully Line Jon-Paul Chatwood (fifth image down) with their location. She knew full well they were the targets of a revenge attack when she made the call.
“Those in the car knew what would happen when, moments later, they switched off the car’s headlights and deliberately drove at the pair in the dark. The car became a murder weapon, with the victims having no warning or time to get out of the way.
“Those in the car fled the scene, before abandoning the car down an alleyway nearby.
“Sadly, Alison (sixth image down) died from her injuries just two days after the attack. As a result of her death a 13-year-old boy has lost his mother, while her family and friends have been left utterly heartbroken. They have also been put through the ordeal of a trial because the offenders refused to admit what they had done.
“The pain caused to Alison’s loved ones cannot be overstated and they must be commended for showing great dignity throughout this whole difficult process. We hope they can now take some comfort in knowing five people are behind bars.
“I am pleased that the jury reached guilty verdicts for the parts that five of the defendants played in the attack and am satisfied with the sentences handed down by Sir Peter Openshaw DL. I hope they use their time in jail to reflect on their abhorrent actions.
“I would also like to offer sincere thanks to colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and to the prosecuting counsel for their hard work throughout this process.”