A gangland hitman who gunned down a crime boss known as “Mr Big” has been given a whole-life sentence.
Mob “fixer” John Kinsella, 53, from Liverpool, was shot dead by Fellows three years later.
Fellows’ accomplice Steven Boyle, 36, who acted as a “spotter” in Kinsella’s killing, was also jailed for murder. He was given a life sentence and told he would serve a minimum of 33 years behind bars. Both victims were “notorious” criminals, and were murdered as a result of a feud between rival gangs in Salford.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Davis said: “Whatever the background of Mr Kinsella and Mr Massey, the impact on their families of their murders has been devastating.
“This was execution, pure and simple.”
The judge described Fellows as a contract killer, a “gun for hire, prepared to kill whoever you were asked to kill”. He added: “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.”
Fellows was convicted of both murders on Wednesday following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court. Boyle was cleared of involvement in the murder of Massey but convicted of the murder of Kinsella. Both Fellows, from Warrington, Cheshire, and Boyle, of Heywood, Greater Manchester, were acquitted of the attempted murder of Kinsella’s partner Wendy Owen.
Before he was led away, Fellows shouted from the dock: “I didn’t shoot at Wendy Owen. She’s lying.” A member of Kinsella’s family, believed to be one of his sisters, screamed from the public gallery “Rat! Rat!” before the judge asked her to leave court.
The savage feud between the gangs resulted in father-of-five Massey being shot at 18 times. Five bullets hit him and he died on his doorstop.
In May 2018 Fellows had cycled up to Kinsella while he and his pregnant girlfriend, Wendy Owen, were walking their dogs in Rainhill, St Helens. He shot him in the back twice with a revolver. He then stood over his victim and shot him again in the back of the head.
The Greater Manchester Police investigation into the Massey murder had stalled until new evidence was uncovered by Merseyside Police during the Kinsella investigation.
Detectives had a “light-bulb moment” when they seized Fellows’ Garmin Forerunner watch, which had a GPS function. It showed a few months before the Massey murder, the wearer of the watch had travelled a route from his home to the area behind the church in which the killer lay in wait for his victim on 26 July 2015.
The jury were told this key piece of evidence showed a “reconnaissance run”.
In his defence, father-of-two Boyle blamed his co-accused, claiming he had gone to Rainhill to pick up drug money from Fellows who instead handed over a gun, used moments earlier to murder Kinsella.
Fellows made a cut-throat gesture and mouthed the word “grass” to his boyhood friend as he sat in the witness box.