Noddy Rice sister’s justice hope seven years after murder

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THE twin sister of South Tyneside murder victim David ‘Noddy’ Rice says she will never give up hope that his killer will be captured.

It was seven years to the day yesterday since Mr Rice, 42, was gunned down in front of horrified visitors to South Shields as he sat in his car at Marsden Lea car park in South Shields.

GUNNED DOWN ... Noddy Rice.

GUNNED DOWN ... Noddy Rice.

One of his killers, Steven Bevans, was brought to justice after Derek Blackburn, their getaway driver, gave evidence against him.

Former South Shields man Allan Foster – who police named as the chief suspect in the killing – has yet to be caught despite an international manhunt and repeated appeals by police for details of his whereabouts.

The recent capture of an armed robber who had been on the run since 2009 by police in Spain has given fresh hope to Shirley Rice, from South Shields, that one day she will see justice for her brother.

Andrew Moran, 31, from Salford, Manchester, was detained in Alicante in connection with an armed robbery in Lancashire in 2005. He absconded during his trial in 2009.

Ms Rice said: “Every time the phone rings, we hope it’s the police telling us Foster’s been caught.

“Until he is, we will never have closure.

“Losing your brother – especially in this way – is something you never get over. Until his killer is caught, and we can see justice done, we will never be able to move on.

“Hearing the news someone who has been on the run for years has been caught gives us hope that, one day, David’s killer will be caught.

“There was also something on the news that someone was caught who police had thought was living in America, but was actually in London. All this does give us hope.”

Bevans, formerly of Birtley, Gateshead, was jailed for life after pleading guilty to murder on the fifth day of a trial into the killing in 2007.

Meanwhile, Blackburn, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, was handed a four-year jail term – a lighter sentence for turning supergrass.

He was the first person in the country to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for supplying information that led to the murder being solved.

His sentence was later reduced to two and a half years.

Foster – who is also known as Shaun Michael Wilkinson – went on the run the day after the father-of-seven’s killing.

He was named as one of the UK’s most wanted as part of a Crimestoppers campaign, Operation Captura, aimed at rooting out fugitives living abroad.

Of the original 50 named on the list, only a few remain to be captured.

Foster, now 40, is described as about 5ft 8ins tall and slim with black hair.

He is thought to have links with the Canary Islands and Majorca.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa