Father murdered in broad daylight
Dated: 03 May 2007
A man who lured a South Tyneside father to his death at a seaside car park has pleaded guilty to his murder.
David "Noddy" Rice, 42, was shot in a car park near Marsden Grotto around 4pm on Wednesday, May 24, last year in an area popular with visitors, many of whom witnessed the horrifying events.
Steven John Bevens, 40, formerly of Sandray Close, Birtley, Gateshead, was with another man when Mr Rice, a father of seven children, was shot.
Four days before the killing Bevens had brought a Ford Mondeo up from the London area. He phoned Mr Rice to meet him in the car park to recover money he was owed over a drugs debt.
Mr Rice was shot several times at close range and died a short time later in hospital. Bevens and the other man were both wearing ski masks during the shooting.
Straight after the killing the Mondeo was driven to nearby Lizard Lane where it was burnt out. Derek Stephen Blackburn, 51, formerly of Station Road, Moortown, Market Rasen, Humberside, has already pleaded guilty to assisting an offender after admitting driving Bevens and another man away from South Shields in a Ford Transit van following the murder.
Detective Superintendent Barbara Franklin, who led the investigation, said: " This was a callous and cold blooded assassination of a man in broad daylight in front of numerous people just enjoying a day out at the seafront.
" Bevens was the man who made the crucial call to Mr Rice to lure him down to the car park on the pretext of a meeting about a debt. This was clearly a calculated killing of a father-of-seven which had taken some time to plan.
" I would also like to praise everyone who worked on this enquiry to ensure justice was done. Because the killing was so planned, it was a very complex investigation, with dangerous criminals desperate to cover their tracks and dispose of property."
Bevens will be sentenced in four to six weeks time.
Mr Rice's family described him as a "devoted and loving" father whose death had left them, as well as his friends and associates, "devastated".
Police are still making numerous enquiries to trace a man in connection with the murder. Allan James Foster, 30, who sometimes goes under the name Sean Wilkinson, originates from South Shields but is known to have associates in the Kent area. He has also spent time in Majorca and and the Canaries.
Anyone with any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the incident room on 08456 043 043 ext 66333 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.