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A British hitman was sentenced to life in prison this week thanks in part to a smartwatch he wore while planning an assassination.
The hitman, Mark “Iceman” Fellows, was convicted of murdering Paul Massey and John Kinsella, two English mobsters.
Police suspected Fellows of murdering Massey in 2015 with a submachine gun but failed to gather enough evidence for an arrest. After Fellows shot and killed Kinsella three years later, investigators were able to carry out a search of the assassin’s residence.
According to the Liverpool Echo, police seized a Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS smartwatch while inside Fellows’ home.
In Liverpool Crown Court prosecutors showed photos of Fellows wearing the same watch during a marathon in Manchester on May 10, 2015.
Professor James Last, an expert in satellite-based radio navigation, testified that roughly two months before Massey’s death, Fellows had worn the watch in the vicinity of Massey’s home. Prosecutors say Fellows was carrying out a reconnaissance mission at the time.
Aside from geolocation data, Professor Last detailed the speed of Fellows’ movements and alleged he had likely traveled by bike before walking the rest of the journey. After arriving at what was likely a spotting location, Fellows stood still for seven minutes and 21 seconds before leaving.
The case is just one in a growing number of instances in which law enforcement has relied on data collected by smart devices.
Police in the U.S. late last year ordered Amazon to turn over data collected by an Echo home assistant as part of a double homicide investigation.
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.