Ten of the most wanted British fugitives believed to be hiding in Spain’s ex-pat communities have been revealed in a new appeal by independent UK crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Publication of the latest list coincides with the 10th anniversary of Operation Captura, a multi-agency campaign which has seen 76 fugitives apprehended out of 86 publicised.
The ten fugitives are wanted by law enforcement agencies in connection with crimes including murder, child sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, fraud, money laundering and serious assault.
Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC, the Founder and Chair of Crimestoppers, said: “As we mark the tenth anniversary of Operation Captura, it is safe to say it has been an extremely effective way of tracking down some of the most wanted individuals who are deliberately running from justice.
“These people have managed to evade arrest and avoid justice. We know that with the help of Spanish authorities, along with the public in Spain and the UK, we can find these people.”
Steve Reynolds, Head of International Operations for the NCA, said: “The success of Captura demonstrates our relentless pursuit of fugitives. We never give up. Many of them use Spain as a base to continue illegal activities which still have an impact on the UK, but it is not a safe haven.
“Seventy-six fugitives on the Captura list have been caught to date, along with many more fugitives linked to other operations. The exceptional level of collaboration and intelligence sharing we have with the Spanish authorities has been vital to these arrests.
“The fugitives we are hunting are wanted for serious crimes and must be returned to the UK to face justice. We need the support of the public to help us catch them. Be our eyes and ears and tell us if you have any information on the whereabouts of our targets.”
Crimestoppers and the NCA liaise closely with the British Embassy in Madrid and with both British and Spanish law enforcement agencies.
Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, said: “Captura is one of the best examples of the fantastic collaboration between Spanish and British law enforcement. Our objective is for this collaboration to continue and strengthen in the coming years. I would like to congratulate all those that have worked over the last 10 years to bring fugitives to justice.”
Make a report
Information received by Crimestoppers will help to locate the fugitives on the Operation Captura list. For people in Spain wishing to pass on information anonymously there is a dedicated freephone Spanish telephone number – 900 555 111 – which is directed to the Crimestopers’ call centre in the UK. A translation service is available on request.
People in the UK can continue to contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or online via the Crimestoppers website.
Shane O’Brien, aged 28, from London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of murder. In October 2015 O’Brien was in a wine bar in Middlesex with several friends. It is alleged that O’Brien approached a man called Josh Hanson who was with his girlfriend at the bar, removed an item from his coat pocket and plunged it into the his neck. Josh was pronounced dead at the scene. A £20,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of O’Brien. He is described as 183cm tall, slim build, grey eyes and short dark brown hair. Also has a birthmark on his face, and a tattoo on his back ‘Shannon 15-04-06’. O’Brien also has links to Dubai.
Jamie Acourt, aged 40, from South London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cannabis resin between 1 January 2014 and 1 February 2016. Acourt is believed to be a principal member of an organised crime group involved in the large-scale supply of cannabis. He is described as 173cm tall, athletic build, pale complexion, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and sometimes wears glasses.
Important note for the media – no additional information can be published about the alleged offence, the wider case, and others involved in the conspiracy as the following reporting restriction was put in place at Kingston Crown Court: Any report of the proceedings which names, or would lead to the identification of, Jamie Acourt.
In addition, at the request of the Metropolitan Police, please use this more recent picture of Jamie Acourt as opposed to older ones when he was looking a lot younger.
Jonathon Kelly, aged 36, from Glasgow: Wanted by Police Scotland on recall to prison to serve remaining sentence of 9 years 10 months for a number of serious assaults. Kelly, who is extremely violent and poses a high risk to both police and members of the public, was convicted at various courts of a number of offences between 2002 and 2010. He received sentences in excess of 16 years, and in September 2013 he was released on licence but failed to adhere to conditions set. The offences he was convicted of included an assault to severe injury and danger of life, robbery, assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, breach of the peace and having a sharply pointed implement in prison. In one of the most serious assaults Kelly stabbed and paralysed his victim using a machete. He was also subject of a sexual offences prevention order. He is described as 180cm tall, heavy build, blue/grey eyes, short brown hair, Scottish accent, and occasionally has a beard. Also has scars to the left and right side of the face, on his arms and his right hand.
Stephen Carruthers, aged 43, from Bury: Wanted by Cumbria Police on suspicion of 18 offences of making indecent photographs of a child. Carruthers was arrested when police officers executed a search warrant on 27 March 2014 at an address in Ambleside where he was living at the time. A computer recovered was analysed and found to contain 5,332 indecent images of children. The most serious of the images showed contact sexual abuse between adults and children. He was interviewed and denied committing any offences. He was given bail to re-attend the police station but failed to answer his bail. He is described as 172cm tall, medium build, short brown hair or shaved head and has blue eyes.
Sarah Panitzke, aged 42, from Fulford: Wanted by HMRC for conspiracy to acquire criminal property. Panitzke was a senior member of a crime group involved in a VAT fraud. She controlled the company accounts of many companies remotely via different IP addresses. Panitzke travelled extensively to further the fraud to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She was responsible for laundering approximately £1billion pounds. Panitzke absconded in May 2013 prior to the end of the trial and was convicted in her absence. She was sentenced to eight years on 22 August 2013. Eighteen members of the crime group received sentences totalling 135 years. She is described as 170cm tall, slim build with mousey straight hair, blue eyes and has a Yorkshire accent.
Mark Acklom, aged 43, from London: Wanted by Avon & Somerset Police on suspicion of fraud by false representation. Acklom allegedly make a number of false representations after starting a romantic relationship with a woman from Bath in January 2012. She said Acklom first claimed to work in the banking world in Switzerland and was very wealthy, and then later went on to say he worked for an intelligence agency. During their relationship she said they discussed marriage. After saying he had cash flow problems that were hindering renovation work at one of the properties he wanted them to live in, the woman gave him numerous loans totalling £850,000. It later transpired that Acklom did not own the property. He disappeared and she never received any of her money back. He is described as 5ft 10ins tall, medium build, dark brown hair and green eyes.
Matthew Sammon, aged 45, from London: Wanted by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of making and possessing indecent photographs of children. On 24 April 2014 a search warrant was executed at his home in Croydon as officers believed that indecent images of children had been downloaded on a computer registered at the address. He was not at home at the time. Several hard drives, computers and USB sticks were seized. He was arrested on 28 April 2014 and interviewed before being bailed to attend the police station at a later date. He failed to answer his bail and was circulated as wanted. He is described as 5ft 9ins tall, short brown hair, medium build, and speaks with a soft London accent.
Dominic McInally, aged 25, from Liverpool: Wanted by Merseyside Police on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine. McInally is the alleged leader of a drug trafficking gang that expected to bank £1.25m every month. Members of the gang travelled to the border of France and Belgium to pick up six kilos of cocaine. The package, secreted in a hidden compartment inside a Seat Leon car, was intercepted by police officers when they swooped on the gang near Crosby in January 2014. McInally evaded capture. Five members of the gang have received sentences totalling 48 years. He is described as 178cm tall and has blond hair.
Mark Quinn, aged 52, from Liverpool: Wanted by Police Scotland on suspicion of supplying amphetamine. Between August 2013 and April 2014 Quinn was allegedly involved in an organised crime group concerned in the production, transportation and distribution of amphetamine with a street value of over £11m. He is described as 5ft 9ins tall, large build and has short brown hair.
Simon McGuffie, aged 41, from Liverpool: Wanted by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan) on suspicion of being a member of a Merseyside-based organised crime group involved in the large-scale supply of cocaine, heroin and cannabis across the North West. He has a scarred right arm and distinctive 2” scar to the right cheek.