Kevin Nunes: Flawed footballer murder case reopened" width="976" height="549">
The killing of Kevin Nunes in 2002 remains unsolved after a string of police mistakes
The 2002 murder of a footballer is to be re-investigated after a string of police errors led to five convictions being overturned.Kevin Nunes was 20 when he was killed in an apparent gangland shooting in Pattingham, Staffordshire.Five men jailed in 2008 had their murder convictions quashed after police failings in the case were uncovered. Staffordshire's Chief Constable Gareth Morgan apologised to Mr Nunes' family and said they had been "let down". The re-investigation follows a review of the case by Merseyside Police which has made more than 60 recommendations.
Announcing the new investigation, Mr Morgan said it was "a significant moment" for Mr Nunes' family.
Mr Nunes' partner, Leanne Williams, was pregnant with their son when he was killed
He said he acknowledged the "serious police failings" and apologised on behalf of the Staffordshire force."I am particularly sorry that the family of Kevin have not received justice for his death. I know they have been let down," he said.
By Phil Mackie, BBC News Correspondent This is really welcome news for Kevin Nunes' partner, Leanne Williams, their 16-year-old son and the rest of the family.Even back in 2002 they thought there would be little chance of a successful prosecution because few people were willing to come forward with information.The case is believed to have involved drugs gangs. The family celebrated when five men were jailed in 2008, but were distraught when the convictions were quashed because of mistakes made during the original investigation. It has taken a lot to rebuild the relationship between the family and Staffordshire Police, but they are pleased there's new hope that Kevin's killers can be found and brought to justice.
Despite police taking more than 1,000 statements about Mr Nunes' murder, only one witness, Simeon Taylor, was willing to give evidence.The five men who were put at the scene of Mr Nunes' murder by Taylor were jailed for life in 2008, but they were freed in 2012 when information about how police handled their informant came to light.
Mr Nunes' body was found on a country lane in South Staffordshire in 2002
Taylor, who was in jail when he came forward, abused the police protection he was given, committing crimes and breaching a behaviour code of conduct 76 times without ever being charged for fear it would harm his role as key witness.The force was also found to have taken Taylor on nights out drinking and even sent him on a taxpayer funded trip to South Africa, believed to have cost up to
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A senior investigating officer and a team of detectives will now re-investigate the murder.Mr Nunes, who was from Wolverhampton and played football for Stafford Rangers, was due to become a father at the time of his death.
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