Shocking moment dad is shot dead in broad daylight as girls in princess dresses play nearby

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read

This is the shocking moment a father-of-two was gunned down in broad daylight – as two young girls played in princess outfits nearby.

CCTV footage shows the children, who had been playing on Birch Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, running away in fear after Luke Graham, 31, was killed.

Graham, known as ‘Tank’, was lured to the area on the premise that he was carrying out a drug deal.

But three men in balaclavas turned up at around 4.50pm and opened fire, fatally wounding Graham and injuring Graham’s associate, Anton Verigotta, who ran away from the scene.

The footage, that was first shown in the BBC documentary The Detectives: Fighting Organised Crime, shows Verigotta leaving the van, while Graham remains in the passenger seat, waiting for his partner to return.

The shooting was captured in broad daylight and featured in a BBC documentary. (Reach)
The shooting was captured in broad daylight and featured in a BBC documentary. (Reach)
Callum Halpin (left) is still wanted in connection with the murder of Luke Graham, who was gunned down in Manchester. (Reach)
Callum Halpin (left) is still wanted in connection with the murder of Luke Graham, who was gunned down in Manchester. (Reach)

A gunman wearing all black comes out of the address and shoots inside the vehicle where Graham is sitting, before crossing the street and firing at Verigotta, before returning to the van and firing a shot into the driver’s side.

He then goes back round the passenger side, where Graham is seen hanging out of the vehicle, fatally wounded.

The shooter – Wade Cox – was later caught and is currently serving a life sentence for the murder, and will spend a minimum of 36 years behind bars .

Two young girls - one wearing a princess dress - were also spotted on camera playing near where the shooting took place. (Reach)
Two young girls - one wearing a princess dress - were also spotted on camera playing near where the shooting took place. (Reach)

Four other men were also jailed for their role in the killing.

But one suspect – Callum Halpin – remains at large and was on Wednesday named as one of the UK’s most wanted criminals.

Halpin , 27, is wanted by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in connection with Graham’s murder and the attempted murder of Anton Verigotta.

Halpin is 6ft, of fair complexion, a gym user with an athletic build, and possibly a lazy eye.

He has links to Spain and Turkey but his last known address was Beede Street, in Openshaw.

Graham, a small-time drug dealer, was released from prison shortly before his murder but he sparked the ire of local gangs by undercutting their prices on drugs.

Wade Cox was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years for the murder of Luke Graham. (Reach)
Wade Cox was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years for the murder of Luke Graham. (Reach)

Detective chief inspector Liz Hopkinson previously described the murder as one of the few times gang violence “creeps over” into the civilian life.

She said: "Very, very rarely does this kind of thing happen like this. So much organised crime occurs in the shadows away from most civilian life.

"They don't want to crossover into our lives, and certainly don't want to crossover into mine, because that gets attention.

"2018 was a very hot summer. There were little girls running around playing in their princess dresses.

"It's just absolutely awful that there were children playing in the street while this happened.

"It was just one of those incidents which did creep over into that civilian side.”

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