THE former boss of a North-East fruit machine empire has died.

Vince Landa, 78, whose brother Michael Luvaglio was convicted of the murder of Angus Sibbett in 1967, was found dead in his Essex flat.

Mr Luvaglio, 74, of London, who has not seen his brother for more than 40 years, said he would not be attending his funeral.

Mr Landa was a Cockney who moved to the North to run a fruit machine business when the Government made one-armed bandits legal in the 1960s.

He ran the Social Club Services with Mr Luvaglio - and associates Dennis Stafford and Angus Sibbett.

Mr Sibbett, started siphoning off takings and wound up dead in the back of a Mk 10 Jaguar, his body riddled with bullets, under Pesspool Bridge, in South Hetton.

Mr Luvaglio and Mr Stafford were convicted of the murder, made famous by Ted Lewis's book, Jack's Return Home - and turned into the gangster film Get Carter, starring Michael Caine.

Mr Luvaglio, was released with Mr Stafford on life licence in 1979 after serving 12 years in jail. He and Mr Stafford of Stanhope Castle, Stanhope, County Durham, are still fighting to clear their names.

Mr Luvaglio said: "I am not a hypocrite and I would not attend the funeral of someone I do not respect."

Mr Landa married three times and had six children to his first wife.

He will be cremated following a service at the Chelmsford Crematorium at 12.30pm on Wednesday.