Fugitive Kirk Bradley captured in Amsterdam


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The Independent Online

One of the UK's most wanted crimelords has been captured in Holland.

Kirk Bradley, who had been on the run since fleeing a Manchester prison van last July, was arrested with his uncle in Amsterdam last night, the Serious Organised Crime Agency said.

He is expected to be returned to the UK to serve a life jail term for leading an underworld gang responsible for a series of shootings, and leaving a hand grenade on the front wall of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish's home.

Fugitive Bradley was wearing flip-flops, shorts and a T-shirt when officers raided his luxury apartment in the Bijlmer region of Amsterdam.

He is expected to face an extradition hearing in the Dutch city later today, Soca said.

An international search had been going for months since he escaped the van with Anthony Downes while en route for trial.

Downes was also arrested in Holland and is fighting extradition proceedings after both were convicted in their absence earlier this year.

Ian Milne, head of European operations for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, said: "Like his partner in crime Anthony Downes discovered only a few weeks ago, there is no such place as a safe haven. Kirk Bradley was shocked when officers burst through the door of his luxury apartment in Amsterdam. He had no idea we were on to him.

"Joint working with Merseyside Police and the Amsterdam police has led to the capture of these two violent and dangerous individuals.

"They are now back behind bars where they belong. This shows that criminals who flee to other countries are not beyond our reach."

A specialist arrest team from the Amsterdam police arrested him on a British-issued European arrest warrant.

Arno Julsing, chief of detectives for the Amsterdam police, said: "What a successful arrest.

"The collaboration with our British colleagues has so far been fantastic. Together we have managed to apprehend many dozens of dangerous criminals in the last couple of years.

"Our approach works and we have found that the number of fugitives hiding in Amsterdam is decreasing. Our message 'Amsterdam is not the place to be' has apparently been heard. Those who still don't get it will be traced, arrested and handed over to the British authorities."

Bradley and Downes, both 26, face a minimum tariff of 22 years after being convicted at Woolwich Crown Court.

Detective Superintendent Richie Davies, of Merseyside Police, hailed the "excellent arrest".

He said: "The capture of Bradley, and Downes before him, underlines Merseyside Police's commitment to work with other authorities to ensure that serious criminals have no place to hide.

"The sentence handed down to Bradley highlights the real risk that he posed to the people of Merseyside and beyond. We will act on all information provided to take dangerous criminals from our streets, which we cannot do without the assistance of the community."

Bradley and Downes, who described themselves as blood brothers, ran a criminal network between 2009 and 2010.

Three gang members who worked for them admitted possessing firearms and causing criminal damage with intent to endanger life and were jailed in March.

Gary Wilson, 27, of Promenade in Southport, was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years; Joseph Farrell, 23, of Brandearth Hey in Stockbridge Village, Knowsley, will serve a minimum of 12 years, and Craig Riley, 25, of Boode Croft, also in Stockbridge Village, will serve a minimum of 14 years.

The gang carried out shootings and grenade attacks and operated on behalf of others in the Liverpool underworld.

The grenade was left on Mr Dalglish's front wall in July 2009, when he was not Liverpool's manager, but it was not intended for him.

Bradley's uncle Raymond, from Woolton, was arrested in central Amsterdam for possession of cocaine with intent to supply, the Merseyside force added.