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Fifth person arrested in UK over assassination of businessman in his Albanian coffee shop


A FIFTH Briton has been arrested in the UK in connection with the brazen assassination of a businessman in his own coffee shop in Albania.

Ardian Nikulaj, 51, was fatally shot six times by a man in a motor bike helmet in his own coffee bar in Shengjin, Albania, on April 19.

Convicted drug dealer Harry Simpson, 32, (above) was arrested on an international arrest warrant from Albania and brought before Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 5 and was remanded into custody.

He refused to attend the last hearing on July 12 and the case was adjourned until next month for a case management hearing ahead of a full extradition hearing.

Albanian prosecutors claim he was part of a team of Britons who arrived in Albania shortly before the murder and carried out surveillance on the victim.

Simpson denies any involvement and is contesting extradition. His case was adjourned.

In June 25 Simpson, from Abbey Wood, south London, was jailed for five years and three months at Woolwich Crown Court after detectives seized cocaine with 89 per cent purity and a kilo of cannabis from his home, worth £40,000.

He was stopped driving a hired BMW erratically by police and found with £13,380 cash and to be a disqualified driver without a licence or insurance.

Three other Britons and a dual British/Albanian national had already appeared at the same court for extradition proceedings to Albania in connection with the murder.

They are unemployed single mum Harriet Bridgeman, 27, Steven Hunt, 49, and unemployed Thomas Mithan, 35, all from Bristol.

CCTV: Simpson allegedly caught on camera in Albania

They are all also accused by Albania of carrying out surveillance on Mr Nikulaj before he was killed after being brought to the country by British/Albanian Edmond Haxhia, 37, from Birmingham.

Haxia, also facing extradition, is accused of organising the murder as part of a 25-year blood feud between relatives of Haxhia and the victim which allegedly stemmed back to another murder in 1997.

All four also deny any involvement and are contesting extradition with their cases adjourned.

The court heard the killer fled on a grey motorbike and left Albania for Greece on foot the same day.

The Portuguese national was later arrested in Morocco and is also facing extradition to Albania.

Meanwhile, an Albanian arrested in the UK in connection with a murder and possession of a firearm in his native country, claimed he is not the wanted convict.

Artur Reshlani, 38, is wanted in Albania to serve a 22 year sentence he was convicted of in his absence.

On Monday an Albanian national, who prosecutors claim is Reshlani, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court, for extradition proceedings to begin.

However, he claimed not to be the wanted man and was remanded in custody while Albania was given 45 days to resolve any identity issues before the case could proceed.



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