A gangland hitman has been convicted of the murder of the Salford criminal Paul Massey, known as “Mr Big”, and his associate John Kinsella.
Mark Fellows, 38, shot Massey in the chest with an Uzi machine gun in July 2015 as part of a deadly feud between rival gangs in Salford. The attack sparked a series of tit-for-tat repercussions.
During a seven-week trial at Liverpool crown court, the jury heard how Massey, 55, was fired at 18 times as he dived for cover behind bins outside his home in the city. He died within minutes.
Three years later, Massey’s friend and gang associate, Kinsella, a 53-year-old gang enforcer from Liverpool, was murdered while walking his dogs with his pregnant partner, Wendy Owen, on a secluded footpath near their home in Rainhill, Merseyside.
The court heard how Fellows cycled up behind his victim and shot him twice in the back with a revolver. As Kinsella lay dying, his killer stood over him and fired twice more into the back of his head.
Steven Boyle, 36, who was described as Fellows’ “brother in arms”, was accused of acting as a spotter, ensuring the victims were in place and waiting nearby to provide backup.
Fellows was convicted of both murders but found not guilty of the attempted murder of Owen. Boyle was found guilty of the murder of Kinsella, but cleared of the murder of Massey and the attempted murder of Owen.
Massey, known as “Mr Big” despite being only about 1.72 metres (5ft 8ins) tall, was well known throughout Greater Manchester for criminal activities, particularly the sale of drugs during the 1990s rave scene. He was jailed for 14 years in 1999 for a stabbing outside a nightclub in Manchester.
His family have since insisted he had tried to turn his life around in the years before his death, including making an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Salford in 2012.
Massey is thought to have been a long-standing friend of Kinsella, who was a pallbearer at Massey’s Salford funeral. A 2008 trial in Liverpool heard how in 2001 Kinsella intervened to stop a gangster who had threatened “to maim” the former England footballer Steven Gerrard.
Both Fellows and Boyle smiled as the jury foreman returned guilty verdicts on Wednesday, after 31 hours of deliberations. The defendants are facing mandatory life sentences and will be sentenced by the trial judge, Mr Justice William Davis, on Thursday morning.
Police carrying machine guns patrolled the corridors of the court during the trial after both defendants tried to break out of a court building during a previous hearing.