The dismembered body of a murder suspect wanted by Scotland Yard has been found in two suitcases dumped close to the Spanish holiday resort of Torremolinos.
Scott Bradfield, who fled Britain 20 months ago, was about to be extradited from Spain, leading to speculation that he was murdered by fellow gangsters fearful that he would give evidence against them.
The 28-year-old suspected drugs dealer is thought to have been beaten to death before his arms and legs were severed. His limbs, and head and torso, were stuffed into two suitcases and left on wasteland. Bradfield was identified by the Spanish police after they checked his fingerprints and dental records with Interpol, the international law enforcement agency.
A team of detectives from the Metropolitan Police are in Torremolinos investigating the murder and any possible links to British drug traffickers and criminals, including the notorious north London-based Adams family. The police were about to issue an extradition warrant against Bradfield, who was the prime suspect for the murder of James Gaspa, who died after he was shot in the abdomen with a single bullet from a handgun. His body was found slumped in the garden of a house in Islington, north London, on 8 May 2000.
Bradfield, who was seen with the victim at his home in north London the day before the murder, fled to Spain, where he is thought to have been living ever since.
The Spanish police suspect that Bradfield was murdered on either 24 or 25 October and his body cut up and put in two large suitcases. His arms and legs were found crammed into a pink Samsonite case that had been dumped behind a conference centre in Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol. The area, an abandoned olive grove alongside a motorway, is frequently used as an unofficial rubbish tip. Attempts had been made to set fire to the case, which was discovered by the fire brigade on 26 October when they were called to the site.
The second plastic suitcase, containing the head and torso, was found the following day on another piece of waste ground just outside Torremolinos at the Torre Quebrada casino in the nearby town of Benalmadena.
After the identification of the body, the Spanish authorities contacted Scotland Yard, who in turn got in touch with Bradfield's father, who travelled to Spain to help with the inquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Hobbs, the officer in charge of the inquiry, said: "There was a warrant for his arrest and we were about to request extradition. We intended to charge him with murder, and I am confident we would have got a conviction."
One line of inquiry in the new murder investigation is that Bradfield was killed to keep his silence. No motive has been found for the Gaspa killing.
Bradfield has been linked to north London criminals, including the Adams organisation, which controls a large number of pubs and clubs, and runs drugs and bootlegging operations.
Patrick Adams, a former armed robber and eldest of three brothers who make up the Adams clan, is living in exile in Spain in a walled villa bristling with security cameras a few miles south of Torremolinos.
Another possibility is that Bradfield was attacked by rival drug dealers who wanted to issue a gruesome warning to potential competitors.
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