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Murderer's victims left at site he found as undertaker

A SCOT shot dead another criminal and buried the body in a site he had spotted while working as an undertaker.

Stephen McColl, 38, who was born in Glasgow, was found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday of the murder of Philip Noakes in November 2003.

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Noakes, 30, was blasted with a shotgun and mutilated before being buried in a shallow grave in woodland near a church in Worsley.

McColl was also found guilty yesterday of the murder of Michael Doran, 22, a police informant, in March 2001.

The jury heard the pair had been criminal associates in Salford, Greater Manchester, where Doran had looked up to McColl as a "father figure".

But the relationship soured and Doran began passing information to police about McColl's criminal plans.

McColl was also a police informant, although the court heard that he may have been cynically using the system to throw detectives off the scent of his own activity.

He discovered that Doran was informing on him and invited him on a trip to Scotland. The younger man was not seen again and his body has never been recovered.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated whether Greater Manchester Police was negligent in its handling of so-called Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Chis).

It found failings in the system and the actions of four officers, who were "given advice" on future conduct but not formally reprimanded.

Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "This was an incredibly complex investigation into a highly sensitive aspect of police work.

"It revealed concerns over the system of Chis handling that Greater Manchester Police had in place at the time, and the actions of some officers.

"Since that time, Greater Manchester Police has made significant improvements in the management of Chis and responded positively to our recommendations."

Daniel Henson, 23, described as McColl's "able lieutenant", was also convicted of the murder of Noakes.

McColl and Henson were already serving lengthy sentences for armed robbery when the two-month murder trial took place. Both now face life sentences.

They were convicted in February this year of a string of violent robberies on pubs and shops, and sentenced to 15 and 12 years respectively.

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