Paul Corkovic who had stepped away from crime is killed in motorbike crash (2024)

A once notorious armed robber who had turned his life away from crime has been killed in a motorbike crash. Pavè "Paul" Corkovic, 60, died after his machine apparently hit a central reservation on a dual carriageway in Salford.

Mr Corkovic was the head of a prolific gang who attacked security guards delivering and collecting cash at banks and supermarkets in the mid 1990s. During an era when armed robbery was seen by some cynics as Salford's greatest export he was at the top of his game.

But in recent years he had escaped his criminal existence after spending a huge part of his life behind bars. He had a job, had remained out of trouble, and had become a father again.

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Emergency services were called to the scene on Albion Way, Pendleton, Salford, between Liverpool Road and Salford Crescent at around 6.10pm on Saturday. Officers said the crash involved a Green Kawasaki motorcycle that had been travelling in tandem with another motorcycle in the direction of Salford Crescent before apparently colliding with the central reservation

Mr Corkovic sustained significant injuries and sadly died at the scene. A man, aged 38, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has been released on bail.

A close associate of Mr Corkovic said: "He had obtained his HGV licence and for the past two years had worked as a driver. He had a new partner and they have baby twins. He had made a new start."

Officers from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are appealing for witnesses to the crash or anybody with footage of the incident to come forward.

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Sergeant Matthew Waggett, from GMP’s SCIU, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the man who sadly lost his life in this collision. We also thank those who stopped at the scene to help and provide care to the victim.

“The investigation is in the very early stages and whilst we seek to understand the exact cause of the collision, we ask that anybody who saw the incident or may have captured the motorcycles in the locality around this time to come forward and help us understand what occurred.”

Mr Corkovic's past reputation stemmed from an astonishing spree of robberies which began just months after he had been released from prison for other offences in October 1994. Having recruited a new team he set up a base in a lock-up at Irlam industrial estate and the gang armed themselves with the tools of their trade: sawn-off shotguns, sledgehammers, machetes, baseball bats and - most terrifyingly - an AK47 assault rifle.

Within a month of Corkovic's release the gang had targeted a Morrisons supermarket in Eccles and a cash and carry at Salford Quays. Then they hit the Stanley Albion Casino in Pendleton in an audacious daylight raid.

After a textbook job, a raid on the casino in which they snatched £100,000 the gang botched their next target - Sainsbury's supermarket on Regent Road, Ordsall. Armed with shotguns and a sledgehammer, once more the gang targeted Securicor guards as they arrived to collect the takings.

But after two of the guards ran into the warehouse and hid in the canteen, the robbers grabbed a female member of staff and made her take them to the cash office. As 200 shocked shoppers were forced to lie on the floor, the gang couldn't force open the locked steel doors.

They fled empty-handed in a stolen Rover, but crashed into another car at a roundabout and were forced to run. A passing police officer bravely gave chase, detaining one of the gang by grabbing him by the leg as he tried to climb a fence.

Corkovic managed to escape, but despite that bungled raid more followed at NatWest branches in Prestwich and Sedgley Park and a B&Q in Chorley. By the time they did over a Safeways in Swinton it was their eighth raid in just five months. In total the gang had stolen a staggering £275,000. But the police were closing in. Unbeknown to Corkovic and the gang, detectives had the unit in Irlam under close surveillance.

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In April 1995, a team of armed officers fired CS gas and a stun grenade into the lock-up. Three men and a woman were arrested at gunpoint. Guns, ammo, masks, handcuffs and a Land Rover modified with a fearsome battering ram were seized

During the first trial the jury couldn't reach a verdict. But by the time Corkovic was put in the dock again the prosecution had a new, crucial piece of evidence. He had been pictured counting out wads of notes in the living room of his Salford home alongside his partner-in-crime Jason McFeely. His lawyers tried to keep the photograph from the eyes of a jury, claiming it had been taken before the robberies had been committed and that the cash was lawfully his.

But a detective had enhanced the pic and revealed Corkovic was wearing a wedding ring. Police could prove he'd got married at the time of the crimes. In fact one raid, which netted around £100,000, was carried out just three days before the lavish ceremony and reception.

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The 'ring of truth' helped persuade jurors of the gang's guilt. Corkovic, then 33, became the region's longest serving armed robber when he was jailed for 23 years. McFeely and four other members of the gang were also given lengthy sentences.

In 2011 Corkovic was granted an early release from prison and soon returned to crime. Within months he and others netted £50,000 in daylight raids at Natwest, Reddish, Stockport, and Sainsbury's, Heaton Park, with cash delivery men threatened with axes.

The gang was caught by a police surveillance operation as they prepared to rob a £90,000 cash delivery from a Stockport supermarket on April 19, 2012. Corkovic, then 48, was jailed for another 18 years.

Regarding the fatal motorbike crash anyone with any information, CCTV, or dashcam footage is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4741 quoting log number 2586 of yesterday’s date (22/6/24).

Information can also be shared using the LiveChat function on the GMP website: www.gmp.police.uk

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Paul Corkovic who had stepped away from crime is killed in motorbike crash (2024)

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