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Could Manchester hold the key to catching Kevin ‘Hemp’ Parle? The 15-year hunt for a double murder suspect

The ‘private citizen’ hunting ‘most wanted’ fugitive believes Parle is known to local underworld characters

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  • 17:36, 27 SEP 2020

A Manchester gangland link could help trace a fugitive wanted for 15 years in connection with two gun murders.

That is the view of an ex-Scotland Yard cop turned private investigator who has spent 18 months hunting Kevin Parle.

Now 40, 6ft 6ins Parle, nicknamed ‘Hemp’, went on the run after being quizzed by police over two killings. Today he is one of Britain’s most wanted men.

In 2004 Liam Kelly, 16, was shot in the arm and chest in Grafton Street, Dingle, Liverpool.

In 2005 Lucy Hargreaves, a mother-of-three, was shot three times as she slept under a duvet on a sofa at her home in Walton, Liverpool. Three masked men had stormed into her home, looking for her boyfriend, a man named Gary Campbell, a court was later told.

Peter Bleksley, a former detective with the Metropolitan Police, is determined to find Parle, and has penned a book and done a BBC podcast about it – both called ‘Manhunt: Hunting Britain’s Most Wanted Murderer’.

There is a long history of collaboration between organised crime groups in Greater Manchester and Parle’s native Merseyside, in the UK and abroad.

And Mr Bleksley believes figures linked to Greater Manchester’s underworld may have information that could lead to establishing the whereabouts of Parle, who is believed to have moved between a number of foreign holiday destinations while at large.

Individuals Mr Bleksley wants to speak to in his research into the case include Leon Cullen, the alleged boss of a Warrington-based crime gang who faces extradition from the United Arab Emirates on drugs and firearms charges.

Another man who Mr Bleksley wants to speak to is Michael ‘Cazza’ Carroll, who prosecutors allege was part of an underworld murder conspiracy in 2014 and 2015.

In two trials in 2019 Carroll was said to be the boss of a group called ‘The Anti A Team’, involved in a lethal war with rivals, ‘The A-Team’ which led to the murder of Paul Massey in Clifton, Salford in 2015; the shooting of a seven-year-old boy and his mother on their doorstep in Winton, Eccles, three months later, and the murder of Mr Massey’s friend, John Kinsella, in 2017.

After the shooting of Mr Massey, Mr Carroll was said to have fled to Spain. Graffiti appeared on walls throughout Salford branding ‘Cazza’ an informer, and urging him to return to ‘come fight your war’.

An A-Team hit squad was dispatched to Spain and police believe Carroll was their target. But the hit was thwarted after police raided a Marbella flat in February 2016.

They recovered weapons, including a loaded pistol. Detectives believe the team intended to capture and torture Mr Carroll before dumping his body in the Mediterranean.

In January this year a gunman fired two shots into a house in Crumpsall, north Manchester, where Mr Carroll’s in-laws live.

The couple escaped injury despite shots being fired into the house after the front door was opened and the letterbox.

They had just returned from a holiday in Dubai.

Mr Carroll is believed to be in Dubai, where Mr Bleksley believes Kevin Parle has been sighted, and where Leon Cullen was arrested earlier this year.

Mr Bleksley, said: “I have received information that Michael Carroll was connected to both Leon Cullen who is now in custody in Dubai awaiting extradition to the UK, and Kevin Parle.

“I have tried my best to try and speak to Michael Carroll,” he added.

“I remain very interested in talking to him. He has gone very much off the radar in recent years, but I have him very much in my sights. My inquiries to locate Michael Carroll continue.

“If anybody has information to help me with that they should contact me.

“I am sure that Kevin Parle has had to develop links with criminals from areas other than Liverpool to be able to remain on the run successfully for 15 years.”

Mr Bleksley claims to have received information placing Parle in Albir in northern Spain in September 2019, frequenting a club.

“Where is he now? I can’t tell you the information I have about the here and now because I don’t want Parle to know what I know, and trust me I know a lot,” the private investigator told the Manchester Evening News.

He said it was believed Parle had spent time in Thailand and later Dubai. The most recent sighting was on December 27th last year in La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands.

“I do have to give him, begrudgingly some kind of credit for that, because he has so far, been very successful, but he has not had a my podcast with two and a half million downloads (to deal with) until recently,” Mr Bleksley said.

“There hasn’t been a book about him published until last week. All the publicity I am getting is shrinking the world, squeezing the planet so tightly that at some stage his 6ft 6in frame is going to pop up.

“I am not investigating the murders,” Mr Bleksley said. “I deliberately set myself narrow parameters in so much as I am simply trying to find Parle. It is the police’s job to investigate those murders.

“I have been made privy to a lot of information about who apparently killed who, and who is serving drugs to who. None of which I have passed on to the police, none of which interests me unless it helps me in my quest to find Kevin Parle.

“I have committed a lot of time. It occupies virtually every waking moment and some of my sleeping moments as well. But this was my idea. No one has ever done this before in terms of a private citizen hunting Britain’s most wanted fugitive.

“Perhaps I was a bit naive. It really has been one hell of a journey – the personal price I have paid, the abuse I have had, the insults, the trolling, the posting of photographs of my house online, together with an accurate description of the bedroom I sleep in.

“But this spurs me on. It makes me even more determined to achieve my goal of finding him. There has been a price to pay, because one of my children was extremely concerned and started double locking the door and wanted to change his name when he got to 18, but I have managed to set aside those fears somewhat.

“My family, who I am lucky to have, realise that I am not going to stop. As long as I am drawing breath and can put one foot in front of the other, and can bash a keyboard, I will be hunting for Kevin Parle.

“Am I confident that he will be found? Yes, he will be found. Life is becoming more and more difficult for him. A considerable number of very courageous people are coming forward and telling me what they know, and his time on the run is going to be brought to an end.

“A court was told back in 2006 that the motive for the attack on Lucy’s house was to do harm to Gary Campbell. The difficulty with that is that that case collapsed, and two men walked free.

“Gary Campbell, in my opinion, was most definitely the target. But these brutal, stupid, idiotic killers took Lucy’s life instead.”

Peter added: “It has become my life’s mission to find Kevin Parle. I know that in the early stages of his time as a fugitive he had money stashed in various places in and around Liverpool.

“However I suspect it didn’t take him very long to work his way through that money.

“What I firmly believe is that he has been an asset to organised crime, and they, in return for him being a heavy, a henchman, a useful man to have around – they have harboured him and funded him.”

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Anyone with information for Peter can contact him on 07908617694 or via his website at www.peterbleksley.com. Contact Merseyside Police via www.merseyside.police.uk or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Peter’s book is out now, published by Ad Lib in paperback.

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The 'private citizen' hunting 'most wanted' fugitive believes Parle is known to local underworld characters

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