The gang figures murdered in hits ordered on EncroChat's phone network

The gangland figures murdered in hits ordered on EncroChat: How killings of Salford’s ‘Mr Big’ Paul Massey and mob ‘fixer’ John Kinsella were called in using encrypted phone network

  • The secret mobile system was used by Iceman killer Mark Fellows in his hits
  • Paul Massey and John Kinsella were executed in the gun murders
  • Drug gangsters Andrew Venna and Matthew Cornwall also used EncroChat app
  • Once system was hacked one of UK’s most wanted was tracked down in Spain
  • Police forces used data to carry out Britain’s biggest crime bust yesterday 

Secret phone system EncroChat was revealed today to have been used in some of the UK’s most notorious murders and crimes – with the underground network the perfect hiding place for the terrifying plots.

The handsets and app – which cost £1,500 to rent for just six months – were cracked by an international police team during a two-month investigation.

But it can now be revealed before the system was compromised in Operation Venetic it was used in gangland murders and huge drug deals.

Paul Massey (left) and John Kinsella (right) was both assassinated by Mark Fellows, who was helped by Steven Boyle using an EncroChat phone

EncroChat was used on an adapted Android mobile phone to communicate secretly (file pic)

Mark Fellows (left) and Steven Boyle (right) were both jailed for life over the killings of Paul Massey and John Kinsella. The two men used EncroChat to communicate in the plots

In 2019 Liverpool Crown Court was told EncroChat was used by hitman Mark Fellows to murder ‘Mr Big’ Paul Massey and John Kinsella.

Fellows – nicknamed Iceman for his cold ruthlessness – was tipped off by accomplice Steven Boyle via the encrypted phone service when Kinsella was coming into range.

When he was questioned about the unusual handset, he flippantly declared ‘No one even owns a normal phone these days’.

Andrew Venna (left) and Matthew Cornwall (right) both used EncroChat as part of their huge drug network in Gloucestershire

He executed Massey with an Uzi machine gun outside of his home in Salford in July 2015, hitting him five times on his doorstep.

Three years later mob enforcer and fixer Kinsella was murdered in a hail of bullets.

As he and Boyle were jailed for both killings Mr Justice Davis told him: ‘I have never had to deal with a contract killer of your kind before.

A raid carried out on a luxury property in the Home Counties as part of the huge police sting

West Midlands Police took part in raids in Birmingham that netted criminal suspects 

In Liverpool a suspect in the raids was brought out in his underwear by armed police

Some of the £54million seized by police acting on data harvested from EncroChat

‘There are few judges who have. Just punishment in your case requires you to be kept in prison for the rest of your life.’

How police smashed criminal gangs in the UK, Europe and the UAE by hacking their phones 

Police dismantled huge chunks of a criminal drugs, guns and people trafficking network spanning the globe after four years of trying.

After two months of planning officers in major cities across the UK simultaneously struck kingpins all over the country.

In April, at the height of lockdown in Europe, police in France and the Netherlands finally infiltrated the EncroChat platform.

The phone system, similar to a walkie talkie system allowed users to send encrypted communications and offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service believing that they were safe from detection.

There were 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK – the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals. 

But detectives infiltrated the system – and the crime syndicate collapsed like a house of cards in June. 

Gloucester gangsters Andrew Venna and Matthew Cornwall were also revealed to have used the system in May last year.

Venna and members of his gang were believed to be behind an outbreak of gang warfare in the city which left a number of victims seriously hurt.

He and eight customers and couriers were hit with overwhelming evidence persuaded them to plead guilty to a series of drug supply charges against them.

Venna, was branded Chief Executive of the gang, as he was jailed him for 12 years and nine months while Cornwall got ten years.

Detectives handed data from the compromised EncroChat phone network recently used it track down one of the UK’s most wanted criminals.

The man, from Salford in Greater Manchester, was detained in May by Spanish officers at a beachside apartment block, and then extradited to Britain the following month, according to The Times.

Bosses at the National Crime Agency have also said it is also pursuing distributors of the phones, who reportedly included Johnny Swales, a Belfast criminal and former soldier who is known as King Con.

The MailOnline reported yesterday how the NCA, working with European authorities, amassed huge amounts of data after cracking the EncroChat network.

This was passed to every police force in the UK, who carried out Britain’s biggest ever crime bust.

They seized some £54 million of dirty cash, two tonnes of drugs and 77 firearms as they arrested 746 crime kingpins.

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