Leeds gun victim's Spanish villa going to ruin

THE luxury Spanish villa owned by a Leeds drugs baron gunned down by a hit-man is falling into ruin, the YEP can reveal.

Christopher Hartley, of Tingley, bought the villa on the Costa Blanca in 2007 after hunting for a property in the sun with lover David Large.

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The pair enjoyed the high life at the upmarket property – complete with outdoor pool and sea views between Alicante and Valencia.

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But bisexual Large, of Rothwell, later paid gunman Simon Mullen thousands of pounds to shoot Mr Hartley in a lay-by on a secluded country lane at Clayton West near Wakefield.

Large had started a new relationship with a woman he met on Facebook and wanted rid of long-term partner Mr Hartley, 45.

The villa now lies abandoned and is rapidly falling into disrepair.

Neighbours living near the villa say no-one has been near it since Mr Hartley was killed in September 2009 and large cracks have now appeared in the swimming pool.

A YEP source said locals in Javea regarded Mr Hartley as "friendly and outgoing" who spent most nights out on the town with a large group of friends when he was in Spain.

Large, 35, and Mullen, 39, of South Shields, both denied Mr Hartley's murder but were convicted by a jury after a trial.

At Bradford Crown Court in May, they were each sentenced to life with minimum 30-year terms.

Following the killing, Large and Mullen concocted a complex alibi,

saying it was a drugs deal gone wrong.

But murder squad detectives unravelled the lies surrounding the brutal murder of Mr Hartley, an illegal drugs manufacturer from Tingley.

When police searched Mr Hartley's five-bedroom detached home at Haigh Wood Lodge, Batley Road, Tingley, they discovered a drugs factory and almost 20,000 ecstasy tablets.

Large and Mullen discussed the murder plot over internet site Facebook and on the day of the killing Large travelled to London to arrange his alibi.

Former offshore worker Mullen, of Farding Square, South Shields, shot Mr Hartley twice at close range after he was lured to Litherop Lane, Clayton West, on the pretext of a drugs deal.

Large returned to Mr Hartley's home and took an estimated 100,000 from his safe which was later spilt with his jobless friend Mullen, who went on a 25,000 spending spree.

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