BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - A hired killer from the US disguised herself with a hijab before trying to shoot dead a man and his family in Birmingham, a court has heard.

Aimee Betro, 44, a hitwoman from Chicago, was hired by Mohammed Nazir, 30, and his father Mohammed Aslam, 56, to carry out a revenge killing against the owner of a boutique clothing store and his family.

But Ms Betro’s weapon jammed as she tried to gun down Sikander Ali outside a house on Measham Grove, Acocks Green, on Sept 7 2019.

Kevin Hegarty KC, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court that Ms Betro, who was dressed in a traditional Muslim head covering, was parked on the road in a Mercedes when Mr Ali pulled up in an Audi.

“As he did, the would-be assassin came from the driver’s side of the Mercedes,” he said. “As she left the Mercedes she left the driver’s door open. She walked quite calmly towards Sikander Ali and was pointing a gun at him at head height.

“As she got closer to Sikander Ali he saw her and he saw the gun and she pulled the trigger to fire the gun at him. Mercifully and luckily for him the gun jammed.”

The prosecutor said Mr Ali quickly reversed his car to escape, and Ms Betro also drove off, abandoning the car nearby, where it was later found by police.

The following morning, he added, Ms Betro took a taxi back to the address and fired three shots in the direction of the house before returning to the waiting taxi. No one was killed in the incident.

She also sent threatening text messages to Mr Ali’s father Aslat Mahamud, the principal target of the hit, saying: ‘‘Where are you hiding?’” and: “Stop playing hide and seek.”

Ms Betro fled back to the US two days later and is believed to still be on the run.

However, police tracked down Nazir and Aslam and charged them in connection with the botched assassination attempt.

The father and son from Derby were found guilty of conspiracy to murder. Nazir was also convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, illegally importing firearms and perverting the course of justice.

Jurors were told the pair held a grudge against Mr Ali’s family following a dispute at their clothing store in 2018 which left both conspirators injured.

Bent on revenge, they hired Ms Betro, who flew to the UK on August 22, 16 days before the shooting.

She made contact with Mr Mahamud by pretending to be interested in buying a car he was selling.

She left the UK on Sept 9, and before flying back to America, she contacted Virgin Atlantic in an unsuccessful attempt to change the flight documents so that Nazir could fly back with her.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Aslam and Nazir were determined to take revenge following a fall out where they were injured.

“The lengths they went to in trying to make sure they weren’t implicated in pulling the trigger are immense.

“However, thanks to some great police work and support from our Derbyshire colleagues, we were able to place them firmly in the middle of the attempted murder plot.

“We hope that today, after a number of years unravelling this investigation, justice has been served.

“That nobody died as a result of Aslam and Nazir’s actions is through nothing other than sheer good fortune.

“Their plan was to kill and had it not been for the gun jamming, then there is a good chance this would have been a murder investigation.”

Nazir and Aslam will be sentenced on August 9.