Greater Manchester Police

Hitman Might Have Gotten Away With Murder If Not For His Fitness Tracker

As someone who watches a lot of murder mysteries and police procedural shows, I know that some plots are "torn from the headlines," but rarely do real life and Hollywood actually line up.

However, this one's a story you could easily imagine seeing on primetime TV. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if the miniseries was already in production. The details are just too ripe for Sunday night drama.

It was a major investigation for police in Manchester. Two men, notorious criminals themselves, had been gunned down in "cold-blooded executions."

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The shooting of Paul "Mr Big" Massey in 2015 shocked the city as he was killed in a hail of bullets by an Uzi-wielding masked man. A huge police operation that "trawled through thousands of hours of data and took countless witness statements" came up short and the investigation stalled for three years.

Then, in May 2018, another gangland figure and one of Massey's associates, John Kinsella, was murdered.

Lincolnshire Police

He was out walking his dogs with his pregnant girlfriend when a man on a mountain bike approached, shooting him twice in the back, and then twice more in the head as he lay dying.

But the gunman in the second murder left himself open to identification more than the first.

Liverpool Echo

On a "disguised mountain bike," the gunman wore a high-visibility vest — the kind that makes you stick out so you don't get hit by cars when you're riding in traffic. It also made him stick out in witness's minds.

Because the two victims were known criminal associates, police in both cases decided to coordinate their efforts.

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They had one suspect in their crosshairs: Mark Fellows, a runner, cyclist, and mob hitman. However, they couldn't quite connect him to both crimes.

Thanks to CCTV footage, police were pretty sure they had their man in the Kinsella murder, but tying him to the Massey murder was trickier.

Liverpool Echo

Turns out, his commitment to his health would be his undoing.

Two months before Massey's murder, Fellows had participated in the Great Manchester 10k.

Runner's World | Marathon Photos

Police found a photo of Fellows from the run showing a fitness tracker watch on his wrist. Sure enough, after they found the watch and analyzed it, they found that Fellows had been obsessed with tracking his runs.

Among his routes was one he took shortly before the Massey murder, from his home to a field near Massey's home.

Liverpool Echo | Merseyside Police

Police determined it was the same route the gunman used during his escape — he had taken a practice run. That led police to even more evidence: cell phone data, CCTV, and vehicle license plate recognition that showed him driving past Massey's house twice a day the week before the murder.

Fellows was sentenced to a "whole life sentence," meaning he will spend the rest of his natural life in prison, never being considered for release.

Greater Manchester Police

The judge in the case, Justice Davies, said "This was execution, pure and simple. I have never had to deal with a contract killer of your kind before. There are few judges who have. Just punishment in your case requires you to be kept in prison for the rest of your life."

h/t Liverpool Echo, Runner's World

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