• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Manchester murder fugitive arrested in Portugal

Byscarcity news

May 17, 2022
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CCTV shows the moment a father-of-two was gunned down in broad daylight – as two young girls played in princess outfits nearby. CCTV footage shows the children, who had been playing on Birch Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, running away in fear after Luke Graham, 31, was killed. Graham, known as ‘Tank’, was lured to the area on the premise that he was carrying out a drug deal.

Graham aka Tank and bullet casing found at scene of his murder

But three men in balaclavas turned up at around 4.50pm and opened fire, fatally wounding Graham and injuring Graham’s associate, Anton Verigotta, who ran away from the scene. The footage, that was first shown in the BBC documentary The Detectives: Fighting Organised Crime, shows Verigotta leaving the van, while Graham remains in the passenger seat, waiting for his partner to return.

A gunman wearing all black comes out of the address and shoots inside the vehicle where Graham is sitting, before crossing the street and firing at Verigotta, before returning to the van and firing a shot into the driver’s side. He then goes back round the passenger side, where Graham is seen hanging out of the vehicle, fatally wounded.

The shooter – Wade Cox – was later caught and is currently serving a life sentence for the murder, and will spend a minimum of 36 years behind bars .

Four other men were also jailed for their role in the killing. But one suspect – Callum Halpin – remained at large and was named as one of the UK’s most wanted criminals.

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Halpin , 27, is wanted by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in connection with Graham’s murder and the attempted murder of Anton Verigotta.

Halpin is 6ft, of fair complexion, a gym user with an athletic build, and possibly a lazy eye.

He has links to Spain and Turkey but his last known address was Beede Street, in Openshaw.

Graham, a small-time drug dealer, was released from prison shortly before his murder but he sparked the ire of local gangs by undercutting their prices on drugs.

Detective chief inspector Liz Hopkinson previously described the murder as one of the few times gang violence “creeps over” into the civilian life.

She said: “Very, very rarely does this kind of thing happen like this. So much organised crime occurs in the shadows away from most civilian life.

“They don’t want to crossover into our lives, and certainly don’t want to crossover into mine, because that gets attention. “2018 was a very hot summer. There were little girls running around playing in their princess dresses. “It’s just absolutely awful that there were children playing in the street while this happened. “It was just one of those incidents which did creep over into that civilian side.”

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Arrest

An alleged murderer and one of the UK’s most wanted men has been arrested in Portugal.

Callum Halpin, 27, was detained on Monday at an address near Vilamoura in the Algarve by the Portuguese Judicial Police. He was located and arrested after an operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA),  Portuguese police and international partners.

Callum (left) Luke (right)

A public appeal to help trace Halpin was made in January this year when the NCA and Crimestoppers launched a new Most Wanted campaign featuring 12 fugitives who were believed to be hiding in Spain. Halpin is wanted by Greater Manchester Police for the murder of Luke Graham, 31, and the attempted murder of Anton Verigotta.

Graham, a dad-of-two, was ambushed and shot dead in a drugs turf war in broad daylight on a street in Ashton-under-Lyne as children played nearby in June 2018. In July 2019, five men were jailed over the execution.

Halpin, of Openshaw, Manchester, appeared in court in Portugal today and was remanded in custody while extradition proceedings proceed. He is the second fugitive from the Most Wanted campaign to be arrested in the space of 48 hours.

Most wanted

Alex Male, 29, was detained at Lisbon Airport on Saturday after landing on a flight from Turkey.

Male, of Weston-super-Mare, went on the run following his arrest by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) as part of Operation Venetic. He is believed to have used encrypted communications platform EncroChat to distribute class A drugs across the South West.

Steve Reynolds, National Crime Agency regional manager in Spain, said: “Callum Halpin’s arrest was made possible after some superb partnership work between the NCA and our Portuguese counterparts to whom we are extremely grateful. “Halpin’s arrest comes only forty-eight hours after another fugitive was arrested in Portugal. “These arrests should serve as a warning to other fugitives and most wanted subjects that we will not stop until they are captured.”

Detective Inspector Lee Barrow, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “News of Callum Halpin’s arrest is an important development in our investigation and we will work closely with the NCA and other relevant international agencies to bring him back to Greater Manchester and continue our pursuit of justice for Luke’s family.

“Halpin has been on the run since Luke was fatally shot on that tragic day nearly four years ago and it has been our intention ever since to ensure all those suspected of being responsible for his death are caught and prosecuted.

“I want to thank partners from the National Crime Agency for their work in arresting Halpin and I know this will send a strong message to fugitives – and also the public – that we are totally committed to working with law enforcement agencies across the world to ensure those wanted are caught wherever they try to hide, and ultimately face the serious charges they are accused of.”

Lord Ashcroft, founder and chair of the independent charity Crimestoppers, said: “Having this fugitive arrested within days of another in Portugal shows how valuable our joint Most Wanted campaign is with the NCA, in helping to find these very dangerous individuals.

“Remember, if you know the whereabouts of any others on our list, you can tell our charity what you know 24/7 online and on the phone. We guarantee you’ll stay completely anonymous.”

Since launching in January four fugitives have been arrested in operations by the NCA and international partners.

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