A British runner, sous chef, and underworld hitman was sentenced to life behind bars for the murder of two other Manchester-area gangsters this week — all due to data found on his Garmin Forerunner, according to the BBC.
Mark “Iceman” Fellows was under investigation for the murders of organized crime leader Paul “Mr. Big” Massey and his associate John Kinsella in 2015 when authorities decided to dig into his Garmin account data for evidence. While investigating Fellows, the Liverpool Echo reported, Manchester Police noticed the GPS smartwatch in photos of him running the 2014 Great Manchester 10K and searched for the device in his home.
The Garmin showed Fellows traveling to areas around the home where Massey was killed
The Garmin showed Fellows traveling to areas around the home where Massey was killed in the months before the murder. Fellows’ watch recorded a 35-minute activity that began near his own and followed a path to a field outside of Massey’s home, according to the Liverpool Echo, suggesting that he was performing reconnaissance two months prior to the murders.
The data identified that Fellows had taken his bike out to the field by Massey’s home, according to the Liverpool Echo. As he approached it, his speed dropped from 12 mph to 3 mph, suggesting that he began walking. Fellows then stopped for eight minutes. Authorities used this data as evidence to support the escape route Fellows had taken.
This isn’t the first instance of the data found on smart devices being used as evidence to convict or charge people for murder. Last October, heart rate data from a Fitbit was used to charge a California man with the murder of his stepdaughter. Anthony Aiello had initially told police that he had left his stepdaughter’s home 15 minutes after arriving, but data on his smartwatch was later compared to video footage from a security camera to confirm that the murder occurred while he was still on the property.
Data found on smart speakers have also been used by authorities as evidence. Last November, a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to hand over recordings from an Echo smart speaker. The judge believed that the device, along with any data from paired smartphones, could help prove that the alleged killer, Dean Smoronk, was at the home at the time of the murder.