Sunday People

Suspected hitman is held in a Morrisons car park

4 Brits face raps on Albania hotel killing



A SUSPECTED member of a hit squad which shot dead an Albanian politician was arrested after doing his weekly shop at Morrisons.

Customers were shocked as police swooped on Harry Simpson in the car park in Peckham, South London.

Simpson, 32, is accused of being one of four Brits who travelled to an Albanian resort for a contract killing.

They allegedly stayed at a hotel owned by the intended target to track his movements. CCTV shows businessma­n Ardian Nikulaj, 51, making a phone call while sitting at a table in his hotel on April 19. A gunman wearing a crash

Vasilescu, top, and Zafar helmet and hi-viz jacket then bursts in and shoots him six times before fleeing on a motorbike.

Earlier footage is claimed to show Simpson communicat­ing with an employee at the Coral Hotel in Shengjin, then sitting down at a table in the bar.

He is alleged to be holding a phone used to communicat­e with accomplice­s.

Detectives believe the murder is the latest tit-fortat killing in a decades-old blood feud between two Albanian families.

Simpson – who served time in the UK for drug dealing – was arrested on July 5 and remanded in custody last Wednesday at Westminste­r magistrate­s court. He faces a full extraditio­n hearing in

November along with four other suspects who were arrested in the UK in April and deny involvemen­t.

One, Edmond Haxhia, 37, a Birmingham-based Albanian businessma­n with a British passport, is accused of ordering the hit.

Other alleged gang members are Stephen Hunt, 49, Thomas Mithan, 35, and Harriet Bridgeman, 27, all from

Bristol. They have been remanded in custody except Bridgeman, who is on £20,000 bail.

The suspected gunman, Ruben Saraiva, 27, a Portuguese national who was arrested in Morocco in May, also faces extraditio­n. Albanian authoritie­s want to try them for conspiracy to murder. It is understood that each faces a minimum of 31 years behind bars there if convicted.

Simpson was jailed for five years and three months after admitting a drugs racket in 2015. Police found cannabis and cocaine with a street value of £40,000 plus £13,380 cash during a search of his home in Abbey Wood, South-east London. They donated the seized cash to Demelza Hospice and the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, hoping it would “do some good in the community as opposed to the harm it causes in the hands of drug dealers”.

 ?? ?? Drug dealer Simpson
Peckham supermarke­t
Hotelier Ardian Nikulaj
Drug dealer Simpson Peckham supermarke­t OUT Hotelier Ardian Nikulaj ON RUN

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