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Hitman jailed over shooting of pal's gay lover
Hitman Simon Mullen has started life behind bars for the contract killing of a pal’s unwanted gay lover.
Gun for hire Mullen hatched the murder plot over Facebook with his friend from jail David Large, who wanted rid of his male lover after taking up with a woman.
Mullen, 39, lured Christopher Hartley to a secluded rural spot and shot him in the head, then tried to disguise the kill as a drugs deal gone wrong.
Today the off-shore worker, of Farding Square, South Shields, is at the start of a minimum 30 years after being sentenced to life by a judge at Bradford.
Illegal drugs manufacturer Large, 36, of Rona Croft, Leeds, was also sentenced to life with a minimum 30 years behind bars.
Neither showed any emotion as a jury found them guilty at the end of a 36-day trial.
Police discovered the body of Mr Hartley, a car dealer and drug maker, on a country road, near Huddersfield in September.
The prosecution alleged Mr Hartley was infatuated with Large and the defendant wanted him killed so he could continue his relationship with Dawn Mallinson.
After shooting the victim twice in the head with a sawn-off shotgun Mullen collected a £25,000 fee from Large and embarked on a reckless spending-spree.
After the jury returned their verdicts it was revealed when Mullen was just 17 he was convicted of manslaughter relating to an incident involving a vehicle taken without consent.
Outside court Det Sup Chris Thompson said: “David Large was a man steeped in crime who lived an opulent lifestyle, owning fast cars and large houses both at home and abroad, all of which were funded through fraud and drugs.
“When he wanted to split from his partner and lover of 15-years, Large carefully planned with Simon Mullen to lure Christopher Hartley to a secluded spot in Huddersfield where he was shot through the head at point blank range in what was a pre-meditated, cold blooded and merciless killing.
“Following the killing, Large and Mullen concocted a complex alibi.”