Manchester

Paul Massey's death and Salford's escalating gang feud

Paul Massey
Image caption Paul Massey was a convicted criminal and former mayoral candidate

When Paul Massey was gunned down outside his home by a masked man on a Sunday night in July, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were aware reprisals may follow.

The 55-year-old father of five, once dubbed "Salford's Mr Big", had a conviction for stabbing a man and had been under investigation from the regional organised crime squad over allegations of money laundering.

On 27 July, the day after the murder, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, warned against any other shootings: "Clearly no-one wants to see any further retaliation.

"The right answer for this is for people to come forward and help the police to arrest those who are responsible - because that's what will put a stop to guns in Salford," he told the Manchester Evening News.

Mr Massey, who worked as a security boss, stood for mayor of Salford in 2012 vowing to rid the city's streets of drugs.

He had told a BBC documentary which was filmed in 1998 but never broadcast: "The only reason that's kept me alive today is because the person who fires that shot knows that they've got to fly the flag and handle the pressure after it... and they won't be able to handle the pressure."

GMP were so concerned about possible reprisals at Mr Massey's funeral in August they had armed response units on standby.

Supt Mark Kenny even made a direct appeal to criminal gangs in the area "not take action into their own hands" on the day.

Image caption Police believe another three shootings on Saturday are part of a second gangland feud in Salford

In the months since Mr Massey's killing, GMP have now linked two shootings with his death and believe they may be connected to a feud between two rival gangs in the Swinton and central Salford areas.

On 12 August, just over two weeks after Mr Massey's killing, a 33-year-old man was shot in the hip in the Weaste district of the city.

There have been several shootings in Salford since, but the only one formally connected to Mr Massey's death is the doorstep shooting of a 29-year-old mother and her seven-year-old son in Eccles on Monday.

Hours earlier, police had confirmed three shootings, in Salford and Bolton on Saturday, were part of a separate feud in an "escalating" gang rivalry between two "serious and organised crime groups" in the Little Hulton area dating back a year.

Police said they do not know what is at the root of that particular feud, which has prompted at least six shootings.

Det Ch Supt Russ Jackson said there was nothing to link the Little Hulton feud with the Massey shootings "at the moment".

GMP also believe both feuds may have spawned a series of "low-level shootings" which have not been reported to police.

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