Wanted thug jailed over Kenny Dalglish grenade plot now on run for a year

A thug who was jailed over a plot that saw a hand grenade left outside Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish’s home has now been on the run for more than a year.

Mark Johnston was locked up in 2010 after the military hand grenade was placed outside Mr Dalglish’s house in Birkdale, Merseyside, the Liverpool Echo reports.

He was sentenced to eight years with an extended licence period after admitting conspiring to cause damage and being reckless to whether life would be endangered.

Johnston, formerly of Old Swan, Liverpool, was released on licence on January 25, 2016, but was recalled to prison last February after breaching the terms of his licence.

That March, police issued a wanted appeal for him. And 14 months on, Johnston remains a fugitive – despite officers’ "extensive efforts" to track him down.

Merseyside Police are now appealing for help to track the criminal down, and have asked anyone who has seen him or knows of his whereabouts to contact them,

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Johnston organised the grenade attack from his prison cell at HMP Liverpool, in Walton, where he was serving out a sentence for robbery.

Prosecutors revealed the grenade plot was intended to target a neighbour of Mr Dalglish’s who was a witness in a sensitive trial.

Two men were sent to the area to throw the grenade through a window in his house, the court was told.

A security guard spotted the men, who abandoned the explosive device in shrubbery in front of the former LFC player and manager’s home.

A phone found on Johnston contained the text instructions: “Fits in ur hand”; "Lad he’s gota smash window an throw into house other wise they wont pay gota be done rite lad”; (In obvious reply to a previous message) “Haha nar gota pull pin lad”, and "Make sure smashed window first an throw gota do the job as they want it doin lad.”

Experts say anyone in a room when such a grenade went off would be killed. The bomb was designed to split into 1,800 lethal fragments, spreading at a range of up to 200 metres.

The incident, which happened in July 2009, sparked a massive police response and the bomb squad were called to the area.

Regarding the wanted appeal, a police spokesman said: “Johnston is wanted by officers after he failed to comply with his license release conditions and was recalled to prison on 16 February 2017.

“Extensive efforts have been made by the police to find him but he remains outstanding and officers are requesting the public’s help to find him.

“Johnston is described as white, of medium build, around 6ft tall, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes.”

Anyone who has seen Johnston, or who knows of his whereabouts, is asked to call Merseyside Police on the 101 number.

People with information can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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