This week, hitman and hobbyist runner Mark “Iceman” Fellows was convicted of the murders of English gangland figures Paul Massey and John Kinsella. Among the crucial pieces of evidence in his trial was a Garmin Forerunner — a GPS-linked fitness watch that tied Fellows to pre-assassination reconnaissance on one his targets.
For those interested in the particulars of gang activity in the greater Manchester area, the Manchester Evening News has an excellent recap of the lurid events, which include an acid attack at a funeral, a bouquet of flowers from the infamous prisoner Charles Bronson, and Fellows surviving a bullet in the arse. Are these the hallmarks of crime in the UK? As an American non-gangster, I truly don’t know if these are extraordinary circumstances or just What Happens Over There.
Although police reportedly suspected Fellows’s involvement in Massey’s murder, during the three years between that hit and when Kinsella was gunned down while walking his dogs, it effectively became a cold case. A raid on Fellows’s apartment after the second killing, however, turned up the Garmin.
According the Liverpool Echo, a photo taken at the Great Manchester Run showed Fellows wearing the watch less than two months before Massey’s murder. And when authorities looked at the data on the Garmin, it put Fellows near Massey’s home just days before that — in what prosecutors called a reconnaissance mission.
In court, a GPS expert explained that the watch not only tracked location data, but recorded speed as well, suggesting how specific parts of the route between Fellows’s and Massey’s neighbourhoods were travelled. From Runner’s World:
Professor Last said the wearer set out initially traveling at around 12 mph [19km/h], which suggested they were on a bike. When they reached the field, the speed dropped to about 3 mph [5km/h], consistent with walking, before they stopped for about 8 minutes. According to the Liverpool Echo, this is the alleged escape route that Fellows ran or perhaps rode his bike on two months later, after gunning down Massey in his own driveway.
The running enthusiast site was not able to match the hitman with any public profile on the Garmin or Strava platforms, but it’s still poor OpSec to carry a surveillance device while plotting a felony.
Fellows, 38, is believed to have been paid £10,000 (around $18,000) for Massey’s killing. On Thursday, he was sentenced to life in prison.