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Murdered in a hail of bullets as the year came to an end; The Chronicle has joined forces with police to launch an appeal to catch killers who got away with murder. Investigations Reporter Andy Hughes and Katie Davies today look at three cases which remain a mystery.

HE was one of the most feared men on Tyneside - but Viv Graham's gangland slaying still remains a mystery nearly two decades later. The former pub and club doorman was shot dead in Wallsend High Street on New Year's Eve in 1993 after leaving the Queen's Head pub.

Despite more than 1,000 people being quizzed, 500 homes visited and hundreds of statements taken in connection with the murder, Graham's killers are still at large.

Even an apparent confession from killer and supergrass Lee Shaun Watson during a separate court case came to nothing.

Today, as detectives issued another appeal for information, Graham's mam Hazel Graham broke her silence, 18 years after her son's slaying.

The pensioner, of Barkwood Road, Rowlands Gill, told the Chronicle: "I'm not sure if the killer is still alive but it still upsets me now.

"I think about Viv every day even after all this time.

"The pain will never go away." Viv's killers shot him three times with a Magnum handgun in the legs and chest before escaping in a car that was later found burnt out in Heaton, Newcastle.

The 34-year-old's murderers left him bleeding in the street as he dragged himself 30 yards to try to get help before collapsing.

He died at North Tyneside General Hospital four hours later surrounded by his close family.

The shooting sent shockwaves through Tyneside's underworld and his family and friends put a pounds 100,000 price on his killer's head.

His murder was seen in some circles as a contract killing.

Graham, who ran an empire of pub and club doormen, acted as a protector for some licensed premises, particularly in Newcastle's East End and in Wallsend. The father-of-four, who shared a home with girlfriend Anna Connolly, in Walkerville, Newcastle, had convictions for violence, but he was also known for his softer side with his respect for the elderly, women and children.

In 1990 Viv Graham infamously battered a doorman at Hobo's nightclub, in Newcastle.

The fight was caught on CCTV, and showed him throwing Stuart Watson around "like a rag doll" in the club entrance.

Graham was jailed for three years after he was convicted of grievous bodily harm.

Just days after his murder the Chronicle exclusively revealed the 17-stone hardman received a telephone death threat hours before he was shot. In 2001 we told how five men had been arrested and questioned over the killing of the former amateur heavyweight boxer, but it all came to nothing.

And in 2002, Tyneside career criminal Lee Shaun Watson turned supergrass after he admitted the murder of father-of-two Freddie Knights in 2002.

During the Knights murder trial at Leeds Crown Court, Watson, from Gateshead, claimed he told police who was responsible for Viv Graham's murder.

The murder jury at Leeds Crown Court heard how Watson told police who was responsible for the shooting.

The court was also told that after he was arrested for a separate offence in 1994, Watson boasted to police and the CPS: "You couldn't catch us for the shooting of Viv Graham."

If you know anything about any of the murders, call the police on this special hotline 03456 043043 ext 69191.


BIG NEWS The Evening Chronicle breaks the news of Viv Graham's murder on New Year's Day, 1994 UNSOLVED Left, the scene of the shooting in 1993. Right, Viv Graham dragged himself 30 yards after he was shot, but died in hospital just a few hours later
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2011
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