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To Catch and Convict a Gunman

The names of those involved in this article have been altered to protect them from further internet coverage. But the press cuttings linked to from the original interest are real.

Huddersfield. Reputedly the biggest town in England. Bigger than the entire geographic area of some police forces in the UK. I have no idea if that is true but it was often spouted by cops that worked there.

Of course, large swaths of Huddersfield are rural. I lived in one of the rural towns for a number of years. Very picturesque in summer but harsh in the winter months.

So you would expect it to be a sleepy Yorkshire backwater where nothing happens. Not back in the early noughties it wasn’t. Far from it. We had a gun crime problem. With more shootings than Leeds and Bradford, the much bigger metropolitan cities, put together. At the time I was leading the district drugs team. Part of the gun crime problem was the logistics of investigating it. The relentless nature of investigating crime and how the police resource it.

Five teams of ‘reactive’ CID on a shift pattern. So when you get a series of offences, the first team is frequently on the wrong shift, or days off when the next offence comes in. And so it rolls, on and on, with more offences and differing teams on different shift patterns all holding clues to each other’s crimes but no one putting the pieces together.

I had the luxury of a dynamic team, working whatever shifts we wanted and with the ability to swap and move to the offences coming in. So I approached the DCI and asked him if could we take responsibility for all gun crime. It did, after all, run hand in hand with drugs.

He agreed and we set about breaking the cycle. I put in place some preventative tactics. More armed police in our town. Side-armed under an operation with an authority in place to ‘pull’ our criminals and let them see we were armed and ready to deal with them. To try and prevent them. It’s all smoke and mirrors and cat and mouse stuff.

I also ran a ‘gun’ amnesty. Ridiculous really. No wild west criminal is going to voluntarily hand over his gun. But it does take guns off the streets that have come into the possession of the public through ‘relatively’ innocent means. Found, left by a deceased relative, you name it, it does go on.

What I was really after was the publicity these kind of initiatives bring. To give us chance to get the public onside because it is always difficult to get them to give evidence or intelligence against a gun totting idiot. And rightly so.

We knew the players involved. Small time drug dealers with a ‘beef’ against each other and their ‘hangers on’.

The first criminal we took out was a lad called Mark Roaden. He was in a feud with a family called the France. It stemmed from him getting off ‘not guilty’ for a murder when he shot in the face one of the France family. This is the ridiculous UK justice system for you. Roaden had been at a party in the Marsh area of Huddersfield when Michael France, and others, burst in and used machetes to ‘chop’ some of the people in attendance. Roaden escaped unhurt but he had witnessed the attack and knew what France was capable of.

Wind the clock forward and Roaden and France were ‘sharing’ a gangsters moll. France wasn’t happy about it and decided to confront Roaden. So they set up a meeting outside the Wagon and Horses pub (aptly named for two cowboys) on Bradford Road in Huddersfield. Roaden was waiting in the car park when France pulled up in his car. He drew out his ‘go to’ machete and started to threaten Roaden. So Roaden calm as you like, pulled out his gun (you never bring a knife to a gun fight – everyone knows that) and shot France in the face. Killing him almost instantly.

I wasn’t involved in the subsequent investigation into that matter. But I do know Roaden pleaded not guilty on the basis of self-defence. And he got off. He was convicted of a separate Grievance Bodily Harm charge and he was sentenced to three years.

When he came out of prison the fun started. The France family were obviously keen on revenge. A year after he came out of prison, the feud was in full swing again. Roaden was shot in the face with a shot gun. We were constantly struggling to ‘house’ him as he moved around sofa surfing. We wanted to arrest him for the matter involving his facial injuries from the shotgun. As we did the others involved but we had scant evidence to do anything about it. We found out he was playing for a local football team and so we set up to ‘raid’ the pitch while he was playing and arrest him. Read the story at this press cutting.

Roaden did have shotgun injuries to his face but refused to tell us what the latest incident was all over. So we had intelligence about it, but little else. He was released with no charge.

Then came the shooting.

The Frances’ were in a cafe on Alder Street off Bradford road (It’s dangerous Bradford Road), when Roaden spotted their car. Along with two others, Matthew Fray and Raul Delucke, the car was shot at multiple times. The France group ran from the cafe out of the back and away.

I was made aware and turned in to work to deal with the matter, along with some of my team. I had intelligence that Roadenn was possibly staying at an address at Clare Hill in Huddersfield. We had the armed police searching for him and showing a presence in the town. The intelligence was given to them and an un-marked firearm vehicle and two officers attended at Clare Hill.

Clare Hill is a cul-de-sac. And it goes up hill away from the street access. As the police car tentatively made its way up the hill, Roaden appeared from behind a van and fired a single shot at the armed officers. It hit the windscreen between the two in the car but didn’t penetrate into the car.

The two officers decamped and started shouting orders at Roaden. But he was already ‘on his toes’ into the upstairs flat and out the front and away. Along with Fray and Delucke.

The police surrounded the building not knowing the three had left. They eventually breached the doorway and cleared the flat. Inside we recovered a firearm, bulletproof vest and ammunition, amongst drug paraphernalia. Subsequent forensic tests linked a firearm to the shooting on Alder street and to Delucke.

At the point of the shooting we didn’t know who the ‘other two’ were. But more intelligence led us to Delucke and Fray. Fray was caught up in something he ought not have been. Delucke was a different story altogether. A complete Walter Mitty and fantasist, he even claimed he had been an informant on terrorism. The man was deluded. Raul Deluded more than Delucke.

The scene of the flat was a forensic nirvana, as they are when criminals have to think quickly. They make mistakes. Further intelligence came in naming Delucke and that he was about to leave the country to the Caribbean. Courtesy of Roaden’s wallet. The plan they hatched was for Delucke to produce a video claiming responsibility for the shooting, then have Roaden hand himself in with his solicitor to claim innocence. Delucke had booked his flight and had some cash to set himself up in the Caribbean.

Rather than rush in, I decided to put the tactical team on Delucke. I knew he wasn’t a risk to the public in terms of violence. More a shadow of the criminal he pretended to be -capable of shooting an unoccupied car but not anyone else. And we didn’t know he had fired the gun at that point, not until the forensic results came back. So the tactical team followed him onto a train going to Sheffield. They heard him not so subtlety announcing to Roaden on the phone, he was on the train and he had hidden a gun. With the public packed train listening to him as he gleaned some sort of satisfaction out of making people think he was something he plainly was not.

When the train arrived at Sheffield Roaden approached. But he spotted the tactical team and assuming they were police he made off and was lost.

Delucke was arrested.

He didn’t know we knew he had made a video. We had to threaten the solicitor (from Liverpool, which was odd because this was Yorkshire – make your own minds up about that), to hand the video over or face a report to the law society. I tried to get the Det. Supt to report it to the Law Society (it has to be a Superintendent but he refused – to this day I don’t know why, that solicitor was bent).

Delucke was interviewed over the full 96 hours allowed. He spewed garbage for all of it and we let him lie himself into knots. Then in the last interview the officers challenged his account with the truth. We told him he was just the bag carrier. He didn’t have the bottle to be a real criminal. He was the armourer. The gun cleaner. The muppet. His head fell to his chest in exasperation.

He had been ordering the constituent parts to make the bullets online and he had bought a press to make the ammunition. Straight to jail, do not pass go, and await your fate Mr Delucke.

Actually, Deluche wasn’t even his name. This is the sad man he really was. Raul Delucke portrays himself like some sort of character in a gangster film. Shaun Spender (his real name) changed his name by deed poll.

It then took us a considerable amount of time to find Roaden, but eventually we did. In Blackpool. He was arrested at a guesthouse and had a further 100 rounds of handgun ammunition with him.

He went to court in October 2006. Press cutting here.

Intelligence

The police rely on intelligence a huge amount. Not only to detect crime but to prevent it too. Most people in the UK will be aware of Crimestoppers. The national hotline to enable anonymous reporting of information to be given to the police. Without community intelligence things like gun crime would hardly get results. If someone produces a gun and fires it across a street the forensic opportunities are limited. And time constrained. Unless the police recover the bullets/shell-casings and clothing close in time to the offence, the forensic evidence will be limited. Especially for clothing.

So intelligence is critical to catching up with offenders soon after offences. And with eyewitness almost impossible to secure, because of the fear involved, it comes down to the police being very robust and meticulous with the investigation. And intelligence to identify the who, what, where, when, why and how the offence unfolded.

Just as in policing, it is vital you know what is going on in your work. To uncover those hidden threats and risks your business faces. Frequently these can be inside your business. And they can damage brands and reputations in a heartbeat.

From our extensive research we know that if you do not provide a way for your teams, suppliers, customers (in fact anyone inside your business eco-system) to report anonymously to you, they will not report. Leaving unchecked risk and wrongdoing ongoing in your business that you have no idea is happening.

It’s no different to the public reporting to the police anonymously via crimestoppers – an independent provider to the police. The independence of crimestoppers reassures the public they can safely report without having to get in volved in any chain of evidence.

Get that information you need today. We can assist you to secure it anonymously.


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Author Bio.

Andy Parr is a career detective and anti-money laundering expert. He served in the UK, Afghanistan and the Cayman Islands. He welcomes critical thought leadership and commentary to expand his own ability and advance the subject matter. Andy now leads HX5 Encrypted to help organisations get to the groundtruth in their organisation. Andy has led on every type of criminality you can think of. From murder to white collar crime and everything inbetween. Contact him to see how HX5 can help you.

Read all of Andy’s Posts here.