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  1. ITV Report

Man cleared of ordering Newcastle doorman shooting

A man has been cleared of ordering the ride-by shooting of a bouncer because his son had been thrown out of a nightclub.

But John Henry Sayers, 54, is still facing a prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.

John Henry Sayers Credit: Northumbria Police

Doorman Matthew McCauley was lucky to survive after he was shot outside the Tup Tup Palace on June 6, 2015.

Two other members of staff were also injured when a gunman rode up on a motorbike and opened fire with a sawn-off shotgun.

Sayers was accused of ordering Michael Dixon, 50, to carry out the shooting after his son was ejected from the club weeks before.

Michael Dixon Credit: Northumbria Police

An Old Bailey jury deliberated for more than 30 hours to find Sayers and Dixon, both from Walker in Newcastle, not guilty of conspiracy to murder.

The pair gave audible sighs of relief in the dock as they were cleared of the offence.

Sayers was also acquitted of conspiring to possess a shotgun with intent to endanger life, while Dixon was found guilty by a majority of 11 to one.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC told serving prisoner Dixon he would take into account that he had already been convicted of another offence committed around the same time.

Sayers and Michael McDougall were both found guilty of perverting the justice over a false statement in 2017.

Michael McDougall Credit: Northumbria Police

Convicted murderer McDougall, 50, who is serving a life sentence, told "a pack of lies" by trying to claim he was the gunman, jurors heard.

A fourth defendant - Russell Sturman, 26, from Gosforth in Newcastle - hugged his co-accused in the dock after being cleared of assisting an offender.

Before the trial started, there had been an unsuccessful application by the prosecution to try the case without a jury and it was held well away from Sayers' home turf in the North East.

Sayers had already been cleared of ordering another murder - the doorstep shooting of a man in 2000 - and subsequently cleared of nobbling the Leeds jury in that case.

His son had been thrown out of the Tup Tup Palace and was punched by a doorman weeks earlier.

The shooting happened in Newcastle city centre in 2015 Credit: NCJ Media

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC said Sayers had "acquired and promoted a reputation", and he wouldn't allow his name to be "disrespected".

Sayers' reputation "as a man to be feared" meant "doors are opened for his family", he added.

"Of course, that only lasts as long as the reputation is believed to be justified - which means that if his family is disrespected, violence has to follow."

The family was given free entry to clubs without having to queue and free access to VIP areas "just to avoid serious trouble".

The convicted defendants were remanded into custody to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 21.