£20k reward offered in hunt for Carl’s killer

A £20,000 reward from the charity Crimestoppers is being offered for the first time as detectives from Merseyside Police continue to appeal for information to help solve the murder of Carl Russell.

Carl, 27, was murdered in Belle Vale five years ago today, Saturday 7 October.

He was fatally shot as he and his girlfriend were getting out of their car on Cornwood Close at around 11.30am on Sunday 7 October 2018.

Since Carl’s murder, police have arrested three people in connection with the incident, but no one has ever been charged with his murder.

Merseyside Police has previously released a CCTV image of a male on a pedal bike, who they are still keen to speak to because they believe he could have information to help the investigation.

Now, on the fifth year anniversary of Carl’s murder, Crimestoppers is offering a £20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest, charge, and conviction of anyone for Carl’s death.

Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers said, “We know how difficult it can be for people to speak up and pass on what they know, which is why Crimestoppers exists. Our charity, which is completely independent of the police, has always kept our guarantee of 100% anonymity to everyone who contacts us.

“That means no police, no courts, no witness statements. Essentially, when you contact Crimestoppers via our website or call our 24/7 UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111, once you’re done there is no comeback.

“No one will ever know you contacted us and your information could protect Liverpool from more harm and help the family and friends of Carl see justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Pye, who is leading the investigation, is still keen to hear from anyone who has yet to come forward, but understands that some people will prefer to stay anonymous and share what they know via the charity Crimestoppers, especially as they may be eligible for a substantial reward.

DCI Pye said, “In the last five years we have made a number of arrests, but I am still very keen to talk to anyone who was around at the time of the shooting.

“This incident happened in broad daylight at around 11.30am on a Sunday when there would have been people around.

“Over the years, allegiances can change and hopefully a £20,000 reward from Crimestoppers will be a strong incentive for anyone with information to come forward.

“We are particularly keen to speak to a male wearing high-vis clothing and riding a bike who was seen in the area at the time of the shooting. He is described as white, in his late 20s at the time, of medium build, dressed all in black and wearing a high-vis orange jacket, which was dark blue at the bottom and had a reflective band.

“Do you know who this man is? We believe he could have vital information which could assist our investigation and I would urge anyone who recognises him – or the man himself – to do the right thing and come forward.

We are also keen to trace the driver of a white 53 plate Nissan Primestar van, which was on the estate at the time of Carl’s murder.

“We are also trying to trace a taxi driver who may have overheard a conversation, that same day, about a van being involved.

“Five years on, Carl’s family and friends are still dealing with Carl’s loss and I can’t begin to imagine what they have had to go through. We have a specially trained officer who continues to support them.”

Carl’s family, including his mum, sister and two brothers, have issued the following tributes.

Carl’s mum, Marie, said, “On Sunday 7 October 2018, my whole world fell apart when I received the call that my son, Carl, had been murdered. Carl loved his family so much. Family life meant everything to Carl.

“My heart was ripped out that day. The emptiness and pain I feel every day. There is a big hole in my heart and it will never be filled again.

“It’s been five years, but it just feels like yesterday. It doesn’t get any easier. I feel it gets harder. I have an emptiness inside me due to Carl’s death that will haunt me every day for the rest of my life. My husband and myself just exist now.

“I look at Carl’s brothers and sister and I can see the impact it has on them. No parent should have to bury their child. The trauma of losing Carl has left us all with PTSD.

“I can’t find the words to say how we are, except that we are all devastated and that we are appealing for anyone with information on the murder of Carl to come forward. Someone out there knows who has done this. We would like to thank Merseyside Police.”

Carl’s sister, Rebecca, said, “Losing my brother has affected me massively. It has left a huge hole in mine and my family’s life, and I can see the devastation it has caused in my mum and dad so much.

“They have lost their love and enjoyment of life, and nothing will ever make them whole again but having some justice for my brother would help heal some of the hurt knowing his murderer has paid the price of taking my brother’s life.

“He never got to see my children, and only met my niece once. His murderer has taken away my girls’ chance to meet their amazing loving and caring uncle. He was planning to have kids of his own and settle down with his partner but again that got taken away from him. His life was cut short by a vindictive act, and we will never get the chance to see him thrive as a father, husband, and uncle like I know he would of.”

Carl’s brother, Wesley said, “The death of Carl has affected us all massively as a family and left us empty inside. Hopefully one day we will get justice for his death and pray every day he’s not just another unsolved murder and life taken far too soon.

“It’s gut-wrenching to think Carl was robbed of his life at the very young age of 27 and hopefully this appeal can provide some new information that may be able to kickstart this investigation again.

“As a family, we would like to keep learning on how to deal with his loss each day as it doesn’t get any easier.”

Carl’s other brother, Chris, said, “For the last five years, we as a family have found it very difficult to deal with the loss of Carl. Our family was torn apart in the blink of an eye.

“Over the course of the last five years, we have drove ourselves insane trying to fill in the gaps to make sense of how this happened in the manner it did and still to this day we’ve not found those answers, which is frustrating.

“When we see other families being torn apart by similar things we are reminded at just how cruel life really is and sympathise with the effects caused from the aftermath.

“We would like to thank Merseyside Police for this appeal as it shows us the desire to solve this murder is still something we both share.

“For us the one thing that’s never truly sat right is the planning shown in this murder, as only a handful of people knew that Carl would be visiting his parents’ home that Sunday morning. We’ve never got the answers to fill in the blanks to the questions we ask ourselves every day.

“The death of Carl has affected us all massively as a family and left us empty inside. Hopefully one day we will get justice for his death and pray every day he’s not just another unsolved murder and a life taken far too soon.”

Detective Chief Inspector Pye added, “I want to reassure Carl’s family that Merseyside Police will not give up until those responsible are put before the courts.

“If anyone has any information to help the ongoing investigation, I urge them to please come forward as a matter of urgency.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident, was in the area at the time, or has any information can contact Merseyside Police via 101, our social media desk @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook.

Alternatively, to stay completely anonymous and be eligible for the £20,000 reward, contact independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org and fill in their simple and secure anonymous online form.

The charity’s UK Contact Centre is open 24/7 on freephone 0800 555 111 where you can speak to one of their specially trained call agents. 

Image: Carl Russell/Family handout

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news