Callum Halpin

One of UK’s most wanted fugitives arrested in Algarve

Callum Halpin wanted for murder and attempted murder.

A 27-year-old man labelled as one of UK’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Algarve region of Portugal, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Wednesday.

Callum Halpin was detained on Monday near Vilamoura in the Algarve by the Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ).

He was located and arrested after an operation by the National Crime Agency, Portuguese police, and international partners, the NCA said.

Halpin is wanted by Greater Manchester Police for the murder of Luke Graham, 31, and the attempted murder of Anton Verigotta.

The crime agency explained that a public appeal to help trace Halpin was made in January this year when the NCA and Crimestoppers launched a new Most Wanted campaign featuring 12 fugitives who were believed to be hiding in Spain.

“Graham, a dad-of-two, was ambushed and shot dead in a drugs turf war in broad daylight on a street in Ashton-under-Lyne as children played nearby in June 2018,” it added.

In July 2019, five men were jailed over the execution.

Extradition proceedings

The NCA announced that Halpin, of Openshaw, Manchester, appeared in court in Portugal on Wednesday and was remanded in custody while extradition proceedings proceed.

He is the second fugitive from the Most Wanted campaign to be arrested in the space of 48 hours. Alex Male, 29, was detained at Lisbon Airport on Saturday after landing on a flight from Turkey.

Male, of Weston-super-Mare, went on the run following his arrest by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) as part of Operation Venetic. He is believed to have used encrypted communications platform EncroChat to distribute class A drugs across the South West, the NCA announced.

“We will not stop until they are captured

Steve Reynolds, National Crime Agency regional manager in Spain, said: “Callum Halpin’s arrest was made possible after some superb partnership work between the NCA and our Portuguese counterparts to whom we are extremely grateful.

“Halpin’s arrest comes only forty-eight hours after another fugitive was arrested in Portugal. These arrests should serve as a warning to other fugitives and most wanted subjects that we will not stop until they are captured.”

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Lee Barrow, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “News of Callum Halpin’s arrest is an important development in our investigation and we will work closely with the NCA and other relevant international agencies to bring him back to Greater Manchester and continue our pursuit of justice for Luke’s family.

“Halpin has been on the run since Luke was fatally shot on that tragic day nearly four years ago and it has been our intention ever since to ensure all those suspected of being responsible for his death are caught and prosecuted.

“I want to thank partners from the National Crime Agency for their work in arresting Halpin and I know this will send a strong message to fugitives – and also the public – that we are totally committed to working with law enforcement agencies across the world to ensure those wanted are caught wherever they try to hide, and ultimately face the serious charges they are accused of.”

Also quoted in the NCA’s statement was Lord Ashcroft, founder and chair of the independent charity Crimestoppers.

“Having this fugitive arrested within days of another in Portugal shows how valuable our joint Most Wanted campaign is with the NCA, in helping to find these very dangerous individuals,” he said.

“Remember, if you know the whereabouts of any others on our list, you can tell our charity what you know 24/7 online and on the phone. We guarantee you’ll stay completely anonymous,” Lord Ashcroft added.

 

By MICHAEL BRUXO

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com