Salford's 'Mr Big' shot dead in targeted attack

Paul Massey Credit: Twitter/Paul Massey

A man dubbed Salford's 'Mr Big' has been shot dead in a targeted attack at his home.

A 55-year-old man found dead at a property in the Clifton area on Sunday evening has been formally identified as Paul Massey - a convicted criminal and former mayoral candidate in the city.

Father-of-five Mr Massey was born and raised in Salford, and enjoyed a fearsome reputation, reportedly acting as a mediator between warring gangs.

He was nicknamed "Salford's Mr Big" by a councillor in 1992 earlier following a number of civil disturbances in the city, which he denied having any involvment in.

He declared he wanted to clean the streets of drugs, with heroin a particular concern of his. Stickers appeared on lampposts in the city warning smack dealers would get "smacked" if they brought any into the city.

In 1999, he was jailed for 14 years for stabbing a man in the groin outside a club in Manchester, severing an artery and leaving the victim for dead. He fled to Amsterdam but was extradited, and was described by the sentencing judge as being "no stranger to violence".

After his release from Frankland Prison in County Durham, he became involved in security firms operating in and around Greater Manchester, and is believed to have invested in property.

He ran for Mayor of Salford in 2012, campaigning on the issue of drugs and urging voters to forget the "Mr Big" reputation he carried, saying it was all in the past.

But it emerged earlier this year that the regional organised crime squad was investigating him on allegations of money laundering, as part of a probe into the activities of a Salford-based security company.

He claimed he was the victim of a police-led "witch hunt".

The victim has not been formally identified, police said. Credit: PA

Tributes from friends and well-wishers have flooded in.

One friend, Sean Casey, spoke of his shock at the death, telling the Manchester Evening News:

Others paid tribute online. One woman said: "R.I.P Mr Paul Massey sad sad day in Salford."

A neighbour wrote: "R.I.P Paul Massey! Scary to think he was shot like near my house thoughts are with friends and family."

The shooting comes amid fears of a rise in gun crime in Greater Manchester, with much of it concentrated in Salford.

Patrols have been stepped up and Manchester Road remained closed today while forensic teams combed the area for evidence. It is expected to stay cordoned off until late this evening.

Ch Supt Mary Doyle urged witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.