The alleged ‘heavy’ of a gang who kidnapped and tortured a man in an attempt to extract a large ransom has been arrested on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
Micah Walfall, 36, who is one of Britain’s most wanted men, was arrested last week in Spain after detectives tracked him to his hideaway in Orihuela Costa.
Spanish police had been tracking him since the summer, when he was allegedly involved in a high-speed police chase and rammed a cop car as officers tried to arrest him on suspicion of drug dealing.
Police say he tried to flee a second time when they broke into his hideout – running for his car before pepper-spraying officers. He is now in jail near Torrevieja.
Walfall has been on the run since last year, when British police arrested a gang of men – including the brother of two former Manchester City players – for kidnapping and torturing another man in the belief that he was a high-profile drug dealer and would pay them a hefty ransom.
Micah Walfall, 36, who is wanted in the UK over a kidnap and torture plot, was arrested in Spain last week after police tracked him to his hideout on the Costa Blanca
Spanish police had been searching for Walfall since the summer, after he allegedly got into a car chase and rammed officers trying to arrest him for drug dealing
Michael Etuhu, 35, a former football agent whose two brothers both played for Manchester City, was accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap father-of-one Haider Mahmood and demanding £500,000.
A court heard that the gang planted a bug in Mahmood’s car in order to track his movements, before snatching him off the streets of Manchester in April.
Gang members had approached Mahmood wearing off-duty police uniforms and told him that he was being arrested for dealing drugs, before handcuffing him and leading him away.
He was then transferred to a van, where gang members said Walfall – who they called ‘Big Dave’ – was waiting, wearing a red and white skull face mask, and armed with a replica handgun.
He pointed the gun at Mahmood’s head, the court was told, accused him of ‘f***ing my people over’ and demanded money.
Mahmood was then driven to a nearby warehouse where Walfall allegedly Tasered him in the testicles and singed his arm with a blowtorch, while his relatives listened to his screams over the phone.
Mahmood – who admitted he ‘used to hang around with bad people’ but had broken from that way of life – was also punched and slapped during the 12-hour ordeal.
He was eventually released in a police raid, and could be heard telling the officers: ‘You’ve saved my life.’
Etuhu pleaded guilty to organising the plot, alongside Ben Ukaegbu, 38, Daniel Lowe, 27, and Nicky Barnes, also 27, who admitted carrying out the plan.
Etuhu was jailed for 10 years, Ukaegbu for 11 years, Lowe for 10 and a half years, Barnes for 12 years, and Bishop for seven years.
Walfall remained on the run until last week when he was caught by Spanish police and held in Orihuela Costa a short drive from Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca.
Walfall is accused of kidnapping a man who he believed to be a major drug dealer off the streets of Manchester before taking him to this warehouse and torturing him
Other men involved in the plot say Walfall pointed this replica pistol at the man’s head, while demanding £500,000 in ransom money
Walfall is also accused of using this blowtorch to burn the man’s arms while his relatives listened over the phone
He is currently being held in prison following a court appearance on Sunday.
Walfall was not named in a Spanish police statement on the arrest, as is normal in Spain, but well-placed sources identified him as the fugitive who had been arrested.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard, which also published footage of the arrest, said: ‘The Civil Guard has arrested in Orihuela Costa one of the UK’s most wanted men.
‘The British authorities have linked him to crimes of kidnap, blackmail, unlawful possession of firearms and wounding.
‘In Spain he has been arrested as the suspected author of a drugs crime, reckless driving and damage.’
The spokesman added: ‘The investigation began last summer when a drugs transaction was detected in a leisure area in Orihuela Costa.
‘Police went to stop the occupants of a vehicle who were related to the investigation but they sped off and the subsequent police pursuit lasted several miles.
‘As well as trying to ram a police car, the suspects put the lives of more than one person in danger, namely a pedestrian who was enjoying a stroll.
‘The chase ended with the car being pursued hitting a tree after being driven through a children’s play area.
‘The driver managed to escape but the passenger was arrested. The Civil Guard’s subsequent investigation consisted in identifying the man who had fled.
‘Reports the force had from Britain explained he was extremely dangerous and violent, as well as being one of the the UK’s most wanted.
‘With the information they obtained, they organised surveillance of people who could have some links to him, until they found his hideaway on a residential estate in Orihuela Costa.
‘A major operation was organised to carry out his arrest before he changed addresses again. He resisted arrest by attempting to flee in his vehicle.
‘When he realised he wasn’t going to be able to escape, he used pepper spray to try to neutralise the officers but was overpowered and arrested.’
Michael Etuhu, a football manager whose brothers both played for Manchester City, was jailed in January after admitting to organising the plot
The police force confirmed that he has been remanded in jail in Spain in relation to the charges he is facing in that country.
It is expected that he will be extradited to the UK where he will face kidnap and torture charges, though it is not clear when this will happen.
A police spokesman added: ‘The extreme violence of his person is reflected in his criminal history as the alleged leader of a gang which kidnapped a man.
‘The victim was tortured and several parts of his body were burned. The kidnappers demanded a £500,000 ransom payment to release him.
‘The British authorities managed to arrest several members of the group, who are currently serving prison sentences.
‘The man we have arrested, who had fled to Spain to avoid being brought to justice, was the missing piece of the jigsaw.’
During sentencing in the UK, a court was told how Michael Etuhu organised the kidnap plot by recruiting a gang from the Midlands to carry it out, so that Mahmood wouldn’t recognise his kidnappers.
Etuhu was described at Manchester Crown Court as a dad-of-two and university graduate who became a football agent and later set up an agency with his two brothers, Kelvin and Dickson.
Kelvin had played football for Manchester City until 2011, when he was sentenced to eight months in prison for breaking a man’s jaw in a fight outside a casino.
His last club was League Two side Carlisle.
Meanwhile eldest brother Dickson, 37, a Nigerian international, played for several UK clubs including Manchester City, Norwich City, Fulham and Sunderland.
He was banned from football for five years in April this year after being found guilty of match fixing while playing for AIK Fotboll in Sweden in 2017.
A separate August 2019 alert put out by Northamptonshire Police, where Walfall is originally from, said: ‘Have you seen wanted Northampton man Micah Walfall?
‘He has been recalled to prison for breaching licence conditions relating to a sentence imposed in 2014 for supplying drugs.’
It is not yet clear if British authorities will seek to get Walfall extradited before he is dealt with over the offences allegedly committed on Spanish soil.