Paul Massey and John Kinsella: Hitman guilty of two gangland gun murders
A hitman has been found guilty of murdering an underworld "Mr Big" and mob "fixer" following a gangland feud.
Paul Massey, 55, and his friend John Kinsella, 53, were gunned down in a deadly clash between rival gangs.
Mark Fellows, 38, nicknamed "The Iceman", was found guilty of the murders of both men following a six-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
His co-accused Steven Boyle was found guilty of Kinsella's murder but cleared of murdering Massey.
Both Fellows, from Warrington, Cheshire, and Boyle, of Heywood, Greater Manchester, were acquitted of the attempted murder of Kinsella's partner Wendy Owen.
Massey, from Salford, who was nicknamed "Mr Big", and "Scouse John" Kinsella were "notorious" within organised crime circles in Manchester and Liverpool.
Massey was infamous in his hometown and once ran as a mayoral candidate, while police regarded him as a top-tier "target" criminal.
He became a friend and "mentor" to Stephen Britton, leader of Salford's foremost crime gang, the A Team.
Fellows and 36-year-old Boyle, from Liverpool, belonged to a separate faction, led by Michael Carroll.
Police said the spark to the war between the two gangs involved a drink being thrown in a club where a woman was punched or "banged out" - a serious mark of disrespect for some in gangland.
The savage feud between the gangs resulted in a masked Fellows blasting Massey with bullets using an Uzi sub-machine gun outside his home in July 2015.
Kinsella, who was a pallbearer at Massey's funeral, was shot dead by Fellows in a cold-blooded execution almost three years later, on 5 May last year, while he and Miss Owen were walking their dogs in Rainhill, St Helens.
As Kinsella lay dying, Fellows stood over him, pointed the barrel close to the back of the victim's head and pulled the trigger twice more.
Rebecca Macaulay-Addison, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Boyle had acted as a "spotter", playing a "crucial supporting role" in Kinsella's murder and the jury had held him "jointly responsible" for the killing.
During the trial jurors heard that Kinsella, an expert in judo and jujitsu, had helped former England and Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard when he had "got into trouble".
The footballer called on Kinsella to scare off a Liverpool gangster known as The Psycho who had been "terrorising" him, the court was told.
Outside court, Louise Lydiate, Massey's partner and mother of two of his children, said: "Anyone who knows Paul would tell you he was a very generous, kind man who would do anything for anybody.
"All these Mr Big and things like that come from people who obviously don't know him."
She added it had been a "very long... sad journey" and she hoped "now we can move on in our lives as a family and get back to some normality".
Armed police in combat gear had patrolled the corridors of the court for the duration of the trial as both defendants had tried to break out of court buildings in past hearings.
Fellows and Boyle will be sentenced on Thursday.