‘Sick’ fake memorial causes heartache for families of murder victims Noddy Rice and Kevin Nightingale

The sign which was displayed on The Leas
The sign which was displayed on The Leas
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The families of two murder victims have been left stunned and angered over a sign which was placed at a local beauty spot.

The ornate sign – complete with a small statue of a black and white cat – was hung on the railings at The Leas, South Shields.

David 'Noddy' Rice

David 'Noddy' Rice

It said: “In memory of Kevin Nightingale murdered by Noddy Rice

It goes on to name a man who is alleged to have supplied the gun.

The plaque – hung on the safety rail by heavy chains – has left Kevin’s widow Julie and Noddy’s twin sister Shirley “sickened.”

The two women have described the wooden sign as a “sick and evil prank.”

Kevin Nightingale

Kevin Nightingale

The sign had been spotted by a passer-by who informed Shirley.

Kevin, 33, was killed when he was gunned down on the doorstep of his home in Drake Close, South Shields in 1996.

His killer has never been caught.

David ‘Noddy’ Rice, 42, who was on remand in prison at the time of the Nightingale, murder, was shot repeatedly as he sat in his car at Marsden Lea car park in 2006.

The sign which was placed on The Leas

The sign which was placed on The Leas

His killer was named by police as Allan Foster, who is still on the run.

Today, the families united in their anger to condemn the person behind the plaque.

Julie, 51 who has never recovered from that fateful night when she found the body of her beloved husband, Kevin, on the doorstep of the home they shared with their two children, said: “Why would someone try and hurt us like this. It’s bad enough living every day without someone going our their way to deliberately cause us heartache - it’s just evil.

“You just don’t know where people’s brains are at. It’s like they are trying to cause trouble between the two families.

Julie Nightingale

Julie Nightingale

“We know it wasn’t Noddy Rice who killed Kevin, we don’t believe it whatsoever, but that’s how rumours start.

“It’s upsetting as it drags everything back up again and not just for us, but for Noddy’s family as well.

“We know what they are going through and they know what we’re going through – it’s just sick.”

The plaque, which has been reported to the police, has since been removed.

Shirley, 52, who refuses to give up hope that one day her brother’s killer will be caught, said: “When I was told I couldn’t believe it, trying to blame a dead man for something he hasn’t done.

“You can tell someone has taken the time to make this. It is dragging everything back for us all.

Shirley Rice

Shirley Rice

“Noddy was in prison on remand when Kevin was killed so it couldn’t have been him, and the police know that.

“I am so annoyed. And why there? Why the cat? It’s like someone is determined to cause trouble for both families.

“The families are going through enough heartache without all this.”

The families have reported the matter to police.

Northumbria Police said they were unable to comment on the matter at this stage.