Noddy Rice murder: £5,000 reward in hunt for suspected killer Allan Foster in renewed appeal to mark 15th anniversary
This is the suspected killer, drug trafficker and thief from South Shields who officers have been hunting for 15 years.
It was believed he fled to Spain in the days which followed the fatal shooting and he has remained one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives ever since.
He has also been on the National Crime Agency (NCA) most wanted list since the organisation was founded.
The NCA describes Foster as 170-175cm tall, around 5ft 6 or 7ins, with a slim build and black, short-cropped hair.
The agency states Foster has links to the Canary Islands and Majorca, and that he is also known to use the alias Shaun Michael Wilkinson.
Its entry on the wanted man states: “Foster is alleged to have murdered David 'Noddy' Rice at the Marsden Bay Car Park, South Shields on May 24, 2006.
“Foster is also wanted for two offences of conspiring to supply controlled drugs and also for the theft of a diamond ring.”
Foster is reported to have shot Noddy nine times with a semi-automatic handgun before fleeing with his accomplice in a car which was later found burned out on Lizard Lane.
He has previously featured as part of Operation Captura - a fugitives campaign run by the NCA, Crimestoppers and the Spanish authorities.
History of violence
Police have previously described Foster’s “history of violence”, with his routes in the infamous Boss (Boys of South Shields) gang.
In 2008, a court case heard that police had been told that Foster could be dead, but senior officers have previously said no evidence exists to prove this.
Barbara Franklin, the Detective Superintendent who was investigating David Rice’s murder, told Newcastle Crown Court at the time: "I have intelligence that says he is dead but we have not got a body to match that intelligence.
"I would need something to show me he was dead before I believed that."
She said the force had also been told he was living in Spain.
She said: "Foster was responsible for the majority of the drugs coming into South Tyneside, if not the North East.
"He was dealing on a huge scale.
"He was living well beyond his means, driving Porches and Mercedes, shopping in Prada.
"He had a history of violence, his origins were with the BOSS, a notorious gang.
"He was feared by many. Throughout the inquiry we had problems with people not wanting to speak to the police because of the fear Alan Foster would get them and kill them."
Hours of painstaking work by police
Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Dodds of Northumbria Police’s Homicide and Major Investigation Team (HMET) is now leading the Noddy Rice murder investigation and continues to work with the NCA’s International Department, Crimestoppers at home and abroad, as well as the British Embassy in Spain.
He said the investigation has never closed.
“Since 2006, we have been proactive in our attempts to trace Allan Foster and uncover exactly what happened in those moments before and after the shooting which tragically took David’s life,” he said.
“Our investigation has seen detectives scouring hours of CCTV, speaking with witnesses and uncovering other vital information, as well as working with our colleagues overseas to secure justice for the Rice family.
“We know the passage of time can change a lot of things – friendships, allegiances, even family ties. We believe there will be people out there who hold the key to our investigation and have information which can greatly assist us.
“So my message today is simple – if you know Allan Foster or have information which will help us locate him, please come forward.
“If you don’t want to talk to my investigation team, you can speak to charity Crimestoppers anonymously as they are also offering a substantial reward for any information they receive which leads to Foster’s arrest.
“We will continue our investigation until we uncover his whereabouts but we will be able to give David’s family the closure they deserve a lot quicker if those with information come forward and respond to this appeal.”
How to give information
A direct line into the Major Investigation Room has been set up and anyone with information is asked to contact 0191 437 4999 or you can also upload information to the Major Incident Portal online. https://mipp.police.uk/
Alternatively, you can or ring independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or use fill in their anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
Agencies involved have stressed information passed directly to police will not qualify for a reward.
The reward will only qualify for information passed to Crimestoppers’ via the untraceable anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling freephone 0800 555 111