/Escaped murderer in jail but police continue to hunt for answers

Escaped murderer in jail but police continue to hunt for answers

Detectives are still investigating the audacious escape of murderer Shaun Walmsley and the 18 months he spent on the run.

The killer was sprung from custody by armed thugs who burst into action while he was on a hospital visit.

And while he was eventually captured, the ECHO understands the hunt for those who helped him escape – and then lie low – remains active.

Walmsley’s bid for freedom is one of the most notorious cases Merseyside Police detectives have been landed with in recent years.

Image appearing to show Shaun Walmsley as he was arrested in Leeds
Image appearing to show Shaun Walmsley as he was arrested in Leeds

Before his first capture he was a key figure in a Walton Vale-centred gang known as the Vale Heads.

The group peddled drugs from Aberdeen to Dover and plot leaders were said to have had international criminal links.

Walmsley’s main associate Christopher Kenny – who joined him in plotting an attack that saw Anthony Duffy lured to Aintree and stabbed to death – was found to have a running balance of £465,000 and £60,000 hidden behind a mirror in his city centre flat when detectives moved in on the pair.

That money, along with £20,000 of Walmsley’s own cash advertised as a reward for details leading to his capture, is thought to highlight the extent of their criminal operation and propped up what a judge labelled as their “self-perceived position of drug dealers of importance in Liverpool”.

Mr Duffy’s murder came after Walmsley and Kenny learned he was planning to steal from a cannabis farm run by them, said to be worth as much as £60,000.

In 2015 “remorseless” Walmsley, then of Wallace Street, and Kenny, of Tilston Road, were jailed for a minimum of 30 years for the murder.

Footage believed to show escaped murderer Shaun Walmsley being arrested in Leeds
Footage believed to show escaped murderer Shaun Walmsley being arrested in Leeds

Two others – the man who tipped them off about Mr Duffy’s plan and another who supplied them with a gun and knife for their revenge ambush – were also locked up.

After an appeal against the severity of his sentence was refused in 2016, Walmsley’s imagination sprung into overtime.

He lost a significant amount of weight to both change his appearance and fuel his claims of a serious illness.

His plan came to a head while he was on a visit to Aintree Hospital on February 21, 2017.

CCTV showing the moment killer Shaun Walmsley was freed from prison guards outside Aintree hospital.

Returning to a taxi, flanked by prison guards, two men approached Walmsley’s group and secured his escape.

The masked men were armed with an automatic machine pistol and a machete and they fled, with Walmsley, in a gold Volvo.

That Volvo was later found by police in Adlam Crescent, Fazakerley , and seized for examination.

It is believed the gang switched vehicles when they dumped the Volvo and Walmsley is believed to have travelled to the Manchester area.

His escape sparked an international manhunt that included police raids, huge cash seizures and other criminals being captured as detectives hunting Walmsley stumbled across other leads.

Image believed to show escaped murderer Shaun Walmsley being arrested in Leeds

More than £140,000 in cash and Euros to the value of £30,000, all believed to be heading to fund the murderer’s time on the run, was recovered.

There were dawn warrants executed in Liverpool, prison cell raids and intelligence-sharing exercises with foreign forces.

More than 20 arrests were made, from Merseyside to North Wales to the south coast – where an armed police operation saw four men from Liverpool arrested when a silver Vauxhall Corsa they were travelling in was subjected to tyre deflation rounds in Dorset.

Walmsley’s time on the run eventually ended in Yorkshire in August 2018.

Read More

Top news stories

Armed police swooped on a car in the Harehills area of Leeds in a joint operation by Merseyside Police and West Yorkshire Police that ended one of the UK’s biggest manhunts of recent years.

The network that helped him escape custody – then evade those chasing him – remains under scrutiny, however.

And while Walmsley may have been back in jail for fifteen months, Merseyside Police confirmed its detectives were still keen to bring them to justice.

Original Source