Twin sister of murdered South Shields dad 'Noddy' Rice makes fresh appeal to find killer 15 years after fatal shooting
The twin sister of murdered South Shields dad David ‘Noddy’ Rice has issued a heartfelt plea for information that could help find his killer as the family continues to seek justice 15 years on.
David ‘Noddy’ Rice, 42, was shot multiple times at close range on May 24, 2006, as he sat in his vehicle at Marsden car park.
Two men fled the scene and the father-of-seven was taken to hospital but died as a result of his injuries.
Police launched a manhunt to trace the killer and soon Allan Foster, his friend, also from South Shields, was identified as the prime suspect.
It was believed he fled to Spain in the days which followed the fatal shooting and has remained one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives ever since.
Efforts to trace Allan Foster – who will now be aged 45 – have remained ongoing.
Noddy’s twin Shirley Rice, said: “It has been a long 15 years. There has been a lot gone on over the last 15 years but my aim has just been to get justice.
"At the end of the day, that is what we are looking for – justice.
"It has been really hard. We have had a lot of heartache over all of these years.
“All I want is for someone to come forward and just give Northumbria Police some evidence to say Allan Foster is somewhere so we can get closure and bring him to justice.”
She added: "It’s terrible living like this all of the time. Your life is not the same, it is there with you every day.
"It’s something you never forget.”
Two men received prison sentences after the killing. Steven Bevens, of Birtley, was later caught and jailed for life in 2007 for his role in the murder, and driver Derek Blackburn, who lived in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire at the time, was also sentenced to two-and-a-half years for assisting an offender.
Crimestoppers is offering a £5,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information which helps lead to Foster’s arrest.
Shirley hopes it will encourage people to come forward.
"Come forward please. Get in touch with Northumbria Police so we can get some closure,” she said.
"I would be really grateful to anybody that has some information.
"I would really like to thank Crimestoppers who are helping in putting a reward to help with this.”
Remembering her brother, she added: "He was a character, he was a loving, funny character and was well loved by people.
"It has just been heartbreaking all the way through.”
Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Dodds of Northumbria Police’s Homicide and Major Investigation Team (HMET) is now leading the investigation and continues to work with the National Crime Agency’s International Department, Crimestoppers at home and abroad as well as the British Embassy in Spain.
He said police were hopeful the renewed appeal would enable the force to bring their investigation to a resolution and provide some closure to the family.
"The investigation has remained ongoing for 15 years and we are hoping this appeal will allow us to move the investigation forward and understand where he [Allan Foster] is, locate him and bring him to justice,” Detective Chief Inspector Dodds said.
"Over time and over 15 years, friendships change and allegiances change. Somebody who knows Allan Foster and knows where he is, please get in touch with us.”
When Allan Foster fled the North East in 2006, he was also wanted in relation to two other offences of conspiring to supply controlled drugs and also for the theft of a diamond.
He has previously featured as part of Operation Captura - a fugitives’ campaign run by the National Crime Agency, Crimestoppers and the Spanish authorities.
The NCA is also supporting the hunt for Foster, who also features on their Most Wanted list.
Ruth McNee from Crimestoppers said: “Crimestoppers has put up a reward. It is an independent charity and we exist so that people can give information about crime completely anonymously.
"So you can be sure that if you talk to us with any piece of information, no matter how small, no one will ever know that you have given that information, no one will ever know you have called – not even us.”
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.