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'Mr Big' security boss Paul Massey gunned down by masked man

Published 27/07/2015

Greater Manchester Police said they believed the shooting was a targeted attack
Greater Manchester Police said they believed the shooting was a targeted attack

A lone masked gunman in "military-style clothing" murdered a "Mr Big" nightclub security boss outside his home as he got out of his car.

Paul Massey, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene of the targeted attack in Salford, Greater Manchester, yesterday evening.

The father-of-five had managed to call emergency services from his driveway to say he had been shot and needed help.

Several eyewitnesses saw the offender approach Massey at about 7.30pm as he got out of his silver BMW vehicle in Manchester Road in Clifton and shoot at him before he left on foot down the side of nearby St Anne's Church, said police.

The assailant, a white male, was said to be wearing a green or khaki military-style top and trousers, with the lower part of his face concealed.

Mr Massey's body has not yet been formally identified but his next-of-kin have been informed.

Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle said: "Our thoughts are with the family of Paul at this distressing time and we have specially trained officers supporting them.

"We know that shots were fired at Paul and do not believe this was a random attack. We are still working to establish a motive, which is not yet known.

"We have extra officers in the area to offer reassurance to the community and if anyone has any concerns, please talk to our officers.

"If you were in the area at the time and saw anyone acting suspiciously in the minutes before the shooting, or saw anyone leaving the scene, please contact police.

"I would urge anybody with information about what happened last night to come forward. I want to reiterate that any information received will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Massey is a well-known figure in his home city of Salford, and had been involved in security firms operating in Manchester and beyond.

He was born and raised in the city and enjoyed a popular and fearsome reputation - despite being not much over five feet tall and continuing to live a modest life in his home town.

He had first been dubbed "Mr Big" by a local councillor in Salford following civil disturbances in the city in the 1990s, and he was later jailed for 14 years for a savage knife attack outside a nightclub in Manchester city centre.

Ms Doyle appealed for more information as police currently had "no intelligence" on the motive for the murder, despite his prominence in the community.

She said: "There is nothing in what we know about him which would give an overt motive to this."

A number of shots were reportedly fired but the cause of death has not yet been found for certain, with a post-mortem examination due to take place later.

Massey had parked his car on the main road before he was gunned down.

Several gun casings were found at the scene, which remains cordoned off, while police will also trawl through CCTV footage in the area.

Ian Stewart, mayor of Salford, said the murder was "shocking".

He said: "I have to say that the council and the police want to see guns and gun crime removed from the city of Salford.

"Someone must know who is involved in carrying out this horrendous crime."

In 2012 Massey fought a losing campaign against Mr Stewart to become the elected mayor of Salford - saying he would rid the streets of drugs.

He called on voters to forget his "Mr Big" reputation, that it was in the past and people had misjudged him.

Mr Stewart said he refused to share a platform with Massey during the campaign.

He said: "He had shown tendencies that I personally did not want to give any oxygen to - criminality."

In 1999, Massey was sentenced to 14 years after he stabbed a man in the groin, severing an artery, and apparently leaving him for dead outside a club in Manchester At the time he was being filmed by a TV crew making a documentary about his life.

After the attack Massey fled to Amsterdam, but was extradited.

Since his release from Frankland Prison in County Durham, he is believed to have been involved in the security business and to have invested in property.

Massey was regarded as a "target" criminal by police and he alleged that a branch of the MI5 security services working with police against organised crime was monitoring him.


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