Twin of murdered Noddy Rice still hopes to see his killer brought to justice

Shirley Rice with a photo of her late brother David, known as Noddy, at Marsden Lea car park.
Shirley Rice with a photo of her late brother David, known as Noddy, at Marsden Lea car park.

The twin sister of South Tyneside murder victim David ‘Noddy’ Rice says she hopes his killer will be brought to justice before she dies.

Tomorrow is nine years to the day since Mr Rice, 42, was gunned down as he sat in his car at Marsden Lea car park in South Shields.

We never stop hoping, you just can’t.

Shirley Rice, twin sister of David ‘Noddy’ Rice

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

Shirley Rice, of the Sutton Estate, in South Shields, said: “We never give up hope, even though it’s been nine years now.

“We always hope that his killer will be brought to justice.

“I just hope his killer is caught before we die. We never stop hoping. You just can’t.”

Mr Rice’s mother Lydia will never see her son’s killer brought to justice as she died within days of the first anniversary of his death.

The family plan to visit the spot where Mr Rice died tomorrow to lay flowers.

Miss Rice said: “We go every year, so tomorrow we will be taking our flowers as usual.

“We haven’t heard anything from the police for a long time now.

“There’s been no new information, but you never know – one day someone might call in with something and his killer will be caught.”

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

Foster, 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 criminals as part of a Crimestoppers campaign, Operation Captura, aimed at rooting out fugitives from justice living abroad.

Mr Rice’s murder is one of three unsolved killings in the borough being investigated by police.

Officers are still trying to find those responsible for killing Tipu Sultan, 32.

He was gunned down at the back of his family’s takeaway business, Herbs and Spice Kitchen, in Lake Avenue, Marsden, South Shields on Tuesday, April 7.

The killer of nightclub doorman Kevin Nightingale, murdered on February 17, 1996, on the doorstep of his home in Drake Close, South Shields, is also still at large.

Detectives say their inquiries into Mr Rice’s death are still ongoing.

Detective Superintendent George Duff said: “It’s been nine years since this murder, and our inquiry will not stop until all those involved in Mr Rice’s death are arrested and stand trial for the murder.

“We will always act on any new information that comes into police, and we are still keen to trace Allan James Foster.”

Foster, now 42, is described as about 5ft 8in tall and slim with black hair.

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

Anyone with information on Mr Rice’s death is asked to call police on 101 ext 69191 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.