Noddy Rice’s sister hopes for breakthrough on 10 year anniversary of brother’s murder

Shirley Rice.
Shirley Rice.

Police are hoping for a 10th anniversary breakthrough in one of South Tyneside’s longest running unsolved murders.

Today marks 10 years since David ‘Noddy’ Rice was shot dead in cold blood in the car park at Marsden Lea Car Park, South Shields.

His twin sister Shirley says the heartache she felt that day is still as raw as ever and the prime suspect – Allan James Foster – is still on the run after fleeing the UK the day after he is alleged to have pulled the trigger.

Ms Rice says she is refusing to give up hope that Foster will be found.

She said: “When this happened I wanted to see Foster standing in the dock. I wanted to see justice being done.

“Now, I couldn’t care less if he is found dead, just as long as he is found so we can move on with our lives.

“The day our Nod was murdered, was the day time stopped for us. Ten years on the pain still doesn’t feel any different.

“The police are always looking at new things and following new leads. We just need Foster found so we can have closure.”

Only nine days after the first anniversary of her son’s death, Mr Rice’s mum Lydia died, aged 74, unable to cope with her loss.

Mr Rice was shot nine times by two masked men after being lured to a meeting at the car park by Steven Bevens.

In 2007 Bevens was sentenced to life for murder and driver Derek Blackburn, 51, of Humberside, was given four years for assisting an offender.

Police believe Foster, now 43, fired the shots that killed Mr Rice.

Miss Rice added: “My mam died never seeing justice for her son. My sister and brother both died never seeing justice for their brother.

“I don’t want to go to my grave never seeing justice for our Nod. I will never forgive him for what he has done to this family and I will never give up fighting for justice.”

She added: “People say you shouldn’t live in the past but how can I move on knowing Foster is still out there.

“Every day I think about Nod. He really was a character. He was funny and he had lots of one liners. But what is nice, is even though it’s 10 years on people do still remember him and what he did for them.”

Detectives probing the case say they are still hopeful of finding new leads which will lead them to Foster.

Foster, also known as Shaun Michael Wilkinson, is believed to have links to the Canary Islands and Majorca.

They believe Foster flew to Spain the day after the killing and has remained there ever since. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Young, who leads historic review investigations, has been involved in the case since 2006, is hoping that by reminding people of the case ten years on, it may spark some new information

DCI Young said: “This has been a difficult ten years for the family of ‘Noddy’ Rice. It is hard for anyone to lose a loved one, and especially through cold-blooded murder, but to not have any closure must be devastating.

“We have worked tirelessly with foreign forces and international partners to establish the whereabouts of Foster and we will not stop until we know where he is and where he has been. We are keen for anyone who has any information or has heard any rumours of the whereabouts of Foster to come forward.

“I hope to remind people of this murder in the hope somebody has information about the shooting or of Fosters whereabouts. Anyone who may have been in contact with Foster since 2006 could have vital information and I urge them to come forward.

“We will always review any new information that comes into us and we will never stop fighting for justice.”

Foster remains on Crimestoppers most wanted list as part of Operation Captura – a hunt to find Britain’s most wanted criminals believed to hiding in Spain.

Anyone who has any information about the murder of Mr Rice is asked to contact police on 101 or independent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.