1. ITV Report

Killer of Paul Massey & John Kinsella loses appeal over life sentence

Mark Fellows Photo: Police handout

A hitman who blasted to death an underworld "Mr Big" and a mob enforcer will die behind bars, after a court in Manchester rejected an appeal that his sentence was excessive.

Mark Fellows, 38, nicknamed The Iceman, was told in January he would never be released from jail after he was found guilty of the murders of Salford mobster Paul Massey with an Uzi machine gun in July 2015 and three years later the "cold blooded" execution of his friend, mob enforcer John Kinsella, from Liverpool.

Mr Justice William Davies sentenced him to life without parole, following a two-month trial at Liverpool Crown Court, describing Fellows as a contract killer and a "gun for hire" prepared to kill anyone for money who deserved to spend the rest of his days behind bars.

But Fellows, who was slashed with a knife in an attack at maximum security HMP Whitemoor just weeks after he was jailed, was allowed to launch an appeal against that sentence.

His lawyers argued before the Court of Appeal, sitting at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday, that his crimes were not so "exceptional" he should never be released.

Paul Massey and John Kinsella Credit: ITV News

Nick Johnson QC, representing Fellows, questioned whether the murders merited a whole life term, suggesting they did not involve a "substantial" degree of pre-planning.

Mr Johnson said despite Fellows trying to disguise himself to cover his tracks, he was caught on CCTV and this did not have the "professional hallmarks" of a contract killer, but was more a "typical Salford gang shooting".

But Paul Greaney QC, who prosecuted the case at trial, said Fellows's planning of both murders was "substantial", with surveillance of the victims, scoping of the area for the planned "execution", and the use of guns which were never recovered.

He said the whole life term is "richly deserved and cannot be described as manifestly excessive".

Dismissing the appeal, Sir Brian told Fellows the trial judge was correct in deciding he should never be released.

Outside court, Massey's former partner Louise Lydiate said: "I'm just pleased with the result. It was just a waste of everyone's time.

"The next time I want to hear his name is when he's being brought out of prison in a wooden box."