Gangster jailed for life

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The Independent Online
An American gangster who ordered the contract execution of accountant David Wilson was jailed for life yesterday.

Michael Austin, 41, was found guilty, by a unanimous verdict, of the murder of the 47-year-old father of two, shot in the head by masked gunmen at his luxury home near Chorley, Lancashire, in March 1992, while his wife and two daughters were held hostage. Austin, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty. During the five-week trial amid heightened security at Liverpool Crown Court the prosecution told how he masterminded a multi-million pound cigarette fraud. Mr Wilson, used as a middle-man by Austin, was murdered on Austin's orders after he spoke to police. The verdict came as Mr Wilson's widow, Barbara, lay on a life-support machine. She died last night, reportedly after a brain haemorrhage.