A suspect in one of the UK’s most notorious racially-motivated murders and an extremity violent machete-wielding thug from Scotland are among the ten most wanted British serious and organised criminals currently on the run in Spain.
Marking ten years since the launch of its incredibly successful Operation Captura campaign – an initiative designed to bring British fugitives who have fled overseas to justice, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has unveiled a new list of offenders who have absconded to the “Costa Del Crime”.
Since it began a decade ago, Operation Captura has resulted in the capture of 76 of the 85 people it has appealed to the public for information on. The latest top-ten features a rogues’ gallery of paedophiles, drug traffickers and murders.
Perhaps the most well-known of the faces to appear on the current list is Jamie Acourt, one of the men accused of the racially-motivated 1993 murder of London teenager Stephen Lawrence. Acourt is suspected of being a key player in an organised crime syndicate behind a massive €4.48 million cannabis smuggling operation. Police believe he is being shielded by criminal contacts on the south coast of Spain.
Jonathan Kelly, another fugitive on the list, has been said to model himself on one-eyed cop killer Dale Cregan. Manchester career criminal Cregan was sentenced to a whole life term in 2013 after being found guilty of murdering two female police officers.
Kelly, who had threatened to emulate Cregan by killing police, once paralysed a man after attacking him with a machete. He is wanted for a number of serious assaults, and is likely to be looking at another ten years behind bars with no chance of parole when he is eventually captured an extradited back to the UK. Police investigating Kelly’s whereabouts suspect criminal associates on the continent are helping him evade capture.
Also on the list is Simon McGuffie, a suspected member of a Liverpool organised crime gang thought to be behind in the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and cannabis across the North West.
Head of International Operations at the NCA Steve Reynolds said: “The fugitives we are hunting are wanted for serious crimes and must be returned to the UK to face justice. Many of them use Spain as a base to continue illegal activities which still have an impact on the UK, but it is not a safe haven.”
Lord Ashcroft, Chairman of Crimestoppers, which runs Operation Captura alongside the NCA, commented: “These people have managed to evade arrest and avoid justice. We know that with the help of Spanish authorities, along with the public in Spain and the UK, we can find these people.”