FOR nearly two months, an extraordinary level of security has surrounded the trial of Mark Fellows and Steven Boyle.

From armed police officers to heavily-guarded convoys to and from prison, the authorities were clearly taking no risks.

In some ways, this might have been expected given the high profiles of the men they were charged with murdering.

Each morning and evening on the days that the case has been sitting, the M62 has seen a stream of police vehicles flanking a van transporting the pair between Liverpool Crown Court and HMP Manchester.

Both defendants have been surrounded by six security officers at all times in the dock.

Outside the courtroom, armed police have kept watch over waiting members of the public – while airport-style security measures have been in place on the floor of the building where the case has been sitting, in addition to the usual precautions at the entrance to court.

Whether these measures are to prevent any attempt by the pair to abscond or for their own security is unclear.

However, the atmosphere in court has not been sour and there has been little hint of conflict.

Despite this, there has been obvious nervous tension in the past week when there was any hint that the jury might have reached a verdict.

Fellows and Boyle are perhaps not what you might expect, given the nature of their convictions.

The former sported short, almost shaven black hair and wore a white polo shirt throughout.

Boyle meanwhile, who has slightly longer dark-brown hair, has worn a white shirt – occasionally covered by a grey jacket.

You would most likely not think twice about the pair if you saw them pass you in the street.

Perhaps that is why Fellows was able to enjoy nearly three years at large following Paul Massey’s murder.