South Shields gangster Allan Foster is named among 11 most wanted as hunt goes on for suspected killer of Noddy Rice
Allan James Foster is suspected of shooting David Rice dead as he sat in a car at Marsden Lea Car Park on the afternoon of May 24, 2006.
Foster, now aged 43, has been on the run since and is also wanted for offences of conspiring to supply controlled drugs and also for the theft of a diamond ring.
Today, the twin sister of David, who was known as Noddy and was aged 42 when he died, has said she will not rest until Foster is found.
On Tuesday, as Shirley will mark their 56th birthday by laying flower at the scene where her brother was gunned down.
His killer, Foster has been named as one of 11 fugitives wanted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as part of a campaign which has already seen 84 offenders caught across Europe out of 96 publicised cases, with one dropped.
Today, the NCA and the charity Crimestoppers has issued a fresh alert over the list of suspected murderers, fraudsters, sex offenders and drug traffickers to bring them to justice.
The organisations say each have connections to Spain, but may have moved around in the years since they first fled and will be using false identities.
Anyone who spots Foster or knows where he is hiding out is urged not to approach him, but to alert police.
Hiding out on the Costa del Sol?
The NCA’s description of Foster is that he is 5ft 5in to 5ft 7in in height, is slim in build, has black hair cropped short.
Originally from South Shields, he is said to have links to the Canary Islands and Majorca and has been known to use the alias Shaun Michael Wilkinson among others.
Shirley Rice with picture of brother David 'Noddy' Rice, near to the spot where he twin was gunned down in Marsden Lea Car Park.
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.
It is believed former Boss [boys of South Shields] gang leader Foster, left the country the day after the murder and may have gone into hiding in the Fuengirola area, on the Costa del Sol.
Shirley Rice says the family continues to be “devastated” by the loss.
Shirley is hopeful news will one day come through which will give her and brother Tess, 59, peace of mind.
“It is important we get justice,” she said.
“It’s hard, but sometimes you see people have been on the run for 15 years and they’ve been found, sometimes it’s as long as 20 years, but as long as I find out before I die, that would be a positive for me.
“Our mother didn’t get that closure.
“I think people see me and think ‘She’s looking ok’ but I’m not.
“When it first happened, all we wanted was to see him in court, to be able to look him in the eye, but now I’m not bothered, if he’s found dead or if he’s found alive, as long as we get closure, that’s what we want.
Police sealed off traffic from the top of Redwell Lane in South Shields as the murder inquiry got under way.
“If anyone knows anything, they must tell the police.”
She said years on, family friends continue to give her support as they remember her twin.
Shirley added: “He was very popular, he was a character and he knew a lot of people.
“I know on his birthday, there’ll be 150 or 200 comments every year from people who say they still thinking of him, which is nice to know, and they still want justice for him.”
Helping hands jailed for their part in evil deeds
Steven Bevans, 39 at the time he was imprisoned in 2007, of Sunderland, is serving life for his murder after pleading guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to luring Noddy to his death.
The henchman had set up a rendezvous at the spot near Marsden Grotto in a deliberate bid to lure Noddy, who lived in St Vincent Street in South Shields, to his death and was jailed for for a minimum of 26 years at Newcastle Crown Court after he changed his plea to guilty half way through his trial.
In 2013, he failed in his bid to reduce his sentence in a hearing before London’s Criminal Appeal Court, where judges were told Bevans was present when Noddy was “executed” as a “public punishment” in front of witnesses out enjoying a visit to the coast.
Derek Stephen Blackburn, 51, of Lincolnshire, was given four years, later reduced on appeal to two-and-a-half years, after pleading guilty to assisting an offender.
He had helped them get away from the murder scene after waiting in his van and handed over his vehicle.
A Northumbria Police officer, who went on to resign, and Serious Organised Crime Agency officer were put under the spotlight for misconduct after it emerged Foster had been given help to evade police.
The information which came to light during the murder inquiry, although their involvement was not linked to Noddy’s death.
Is Allan Foster still alive?
In 2008 a court case heard that Police had been told that Foster could be dead.
Detective Superintendent Barbara Franklin, who was investigating David Rice’s murder, told Newcastle Crown Court: "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.
Police were initially met with a wall of silence as they probed David Rice’s shooting, 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."
Summer holiday sparks renewed effort to trace Most Wanted
The campaign has been launched to coincide with the summer holidays, as people head abroad to enjoy a break.
The NCA works closely with Crimestoppers, the Spanish authorities, UK law enforcement agencies and the British Embassy in Madrid as part of the Operation Captura campaign.
Andy Cooke-Welling, of the NCA’s International Crime Bureau, said: “We urge holidaymakers and expats in Spain and elsewhere across Europe to keep their eyes and ears open this summer.
“You can view all the appeals on the most wanted section of Crimestoppers website and if you know anything about the individuals please contact the Crimestoppers charity.
“No one will ever know who you are, not even us.”
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of a fugitive should can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously at crimestoppers-uk.org or call 0800 555 111.
If sighted, the public are advised not to approach any of the fugitives but to contact the police immediately.