Pubdate: Sun, 16 Nov 2003
Source: Observer, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003 The Observer
Author: Tony Thompson, crime correspondent The Observer


International trafficker found dead in London flat was suspect in
gangland killing of Colombian dealer

A British woman accused of taking part in a brutal and cold-blooded
gangland killing has been found dead in her London home, prompting
speculation that she may have been murdered by underworld enemies.

Bournemouth-born Beverley Storr, 44, was believed to have been
responsible for the death of Colombian drug dealer Arturo Miranda,
whose body was pulled from a canal 50 miles north of Copenhagen in
January 2001. Miranda, 54, had his hands tied behind his back and his
throat was cut. He is believed to have been tortured for hours before
he was shot through the back of the head at point-blank range.

Storr, a leading figure in international drugs smuggling, vanished
from her cottage in Denmark around the time of the murder. Neighbours
saw her hurriedly cleaning the house soon before she disappeared. A
forensics team found traces of blood, leading police to conclude that
the killing took place there before the body was dumped. Witnesses
said Miranda had been staying at the cottage.

A few days later, Storr's red British-registered Volvo car was found
abandoned at a railway station near the German border. She and her
then lover, Reginald Blythin, 55, from Chester, were put on Interpol's
list of most wanted fugitives.

Storr spent years arranging for large quantities of drugs worth
millions of pounds to be smuggled from Spain to Britain until she was
caught in Malaga with 1.5 tons of cannabis worth UKP3 million. She was
jailed for four years in 1997, and freed in January 2001.

She returned briefly to Britain before heading back to Spain and on to
Denmark, where she set up home in the village of Hou.

After the murder she is believed to have used her international
underworld contacts to keep ahead of police. However, she was arrested
in in July 2002 after being surrounded by armed police acting on a
tip-off as she tried to board a flight at Schiphol airport, Amsterdam,
using a fake Spanish passport. Blythin is still on the run.

Storr was detained until last month, when she was released. She
returned to London and moved into a flat in Newington Green Road,
Islington, with a new boyfriend. It was he who returned home late on
Sunday 3 November and found her dead in the living room.

Police officers called to the scene told the coroner her death was not
suspicious, but they were not then aware of Storr's background. The
coroner has promised to expedite his investigation in response to
numerous requests for information from the Danish press.

Henrik Madsen, a journalist on Arhus Stiftstidende, the newspaper that
covers the village where Miranda's body was found, told The Observer
that Storr had to be freed, even though she was charged with murder.

The Danish police wanted to try Storr and Blythin together, but he had
disappeared, said Madsen. 'You can't keep people in custody for ever,
and time went on and on. The Danish legal system says the police must
give a judge good reasons to keep holding someone. They simply ran out
of arguments.'

Instead of waiting for the court to order her release, the Danish
police made a special request for her to be allowed to go on the
grounds that they had obtained all the information they needed from
her. Many Danes believe this was a ploy aimed at getting Storr to lead
them to Blythin.

A leading Danish paper, Ekstra Bladet said the officer in charge of
the murder inquiry, who contacted police in London to check the
circumstances surrounding the death, had refused to say whether Storr
had been under surveillance.

Storr was being treated for depression, and a bottle of pills was
found near her body. It is not yet clear how many - if any - she had

The Danish authorities believe Storr's medication may have been
tampered with, or she could have been forced to take an overdose to
stop her from talking.

Although Blythin is a potential suspect, Storr's criminal record and
high-level connections with organised crime mean many other people
could have been just as keen to silence her. The results of toxicology
tests carried out on her body will not be available until the new year
at the earliest. When The Observer called at the flat she shared with
her last boyfriend there was no answer.

Storr was also suspected of involvement in the murder of a Briton,
John McCormick, 47, who was shot at his flat in Copenhagen on New
Year's Eve. His terrified girlfriend saw the shooting.

McCormick, a convicted drugs smuggler from Liverpool, is believed to
have fled to Scandinavia after he 'ripped off' British drug dealers
based in Spain. Fellow tenants say his flat had a lot of visitors, and
police believe he was dealing drugs. He entered Denmark from Spain the
previous summer on a false passport in the name of Ronald Carey.

One flatmate told the police that McCormick had become increasingly
ill at ease before his death. He is believed to have had regular
contact with Storr and Blythin.

Blythin has served time in Britain for drugs and robbery offences and
has underworld contacts in Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France
and Spain. He may be attempting to contact his family in the UK. He is
on Scotland Yard's wanted list, but is believed to have visited this
country several times since going on the run. 
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