Men behind murder of John Kinsella messaged using EncroChat

A secret messaging service hacked by police was used by the men who murdered Liverpool man John Kinsella.

Last week it emerged that the EncroChat messaging system, used by organised criminals across the UK and Europe, had been broken into by police.

The secret network was unlocked by Dutch and French police, who passed valuable intelligence on to police forces around the UK.

This has led to a wave of police raids across the country, with guns, drugs and other contraband seized. There have been hundreds of arrests across the UK and Europe.

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Police have described the breakthrough as unprecedented.

The criminals who organised the murder of Kinsella used Aquaris X devices with EncroChat software.

The north Liverpool man was shot dead on a roundabout of the M62 near Rainhill in May 2018.

Kinsella was out walking his dogs at the time of his death and he was shot dead in front of his partner.

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Kinsella, 53, had a criminal record and was well known in Liverpool's criminal fraternity.

His killers had communicated using these devices.

The Manchester Evening News has now reported how the recent penetration of the EncroChat system has not resulted in any new information about the murder.

The recent hack provided detectives with access to information from a different period of time. Detectives were unable to access the contents of the Aquaris X devices at the time of the initial murder investigation.

Pictured, inset, is John Kinsella. Main image: Police close off part of the slip-road onto the M62 near the roundabout junction with Watkinson Way following the incident

In December 2018 Liverpool Crown court heard how the killers both used the EncroChat system during a trial when two men stood accused of murdering Kinsella and his friend Paul Massey. A well known criminal,Massey was shot dead outside his home in Clifton, Salford, in July 2015.

Kinsella had been a pall-bearer at his friend's funeral.

Detective Constable Elliot Humphrey, from the Metropolitan Police investigating Organised Crime Networks (OCNs), told the court how the Dutch-made system was used by the criminal fraternity.

He said: "You cannot call or text someone from Encrochat unless they also have an Encrochat phone. You cannot call or text a normal phone."

He said they are attractive to criminals because if you pay £3,000 and have a criminal counterpart who pays £3,000 "you are ensured very high levels of security and privacy".

Two Salford men were found guilty of Kinsella's murder after a trial and jailed for life.