Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Threatened Juror, Supergrass Admits; Court Is Told of Late-Night Phone Call

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Threatened Juror, Supergrass Admits; Court Is Told of Late-Night Phone Call

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Warburton

CAREER criminal Errol Hay turned supergrass after threatening a juror in the murder trial of a gangland shooting, a court has heard.

The cocaine addict claims he was instructed by John Henry Sayers' brother, Stephen, to make a late-night phone call to the home of Robert Black, a jury member in the murder trial of small-time drug dealer Freddie Knights.

During a chilling conversation he is said to have threatened Mr Black's family, allegedly saying: "Do you realise you have a big decision to make tomorrow? pounds 10,000 and your family are safe."

Mr Knights was gunned down on the doorstep of his mother's home in Longbenton, Newcastle, in September 2000, as he went to collect presents for his 14-year-old son.

Two years after his death, and following a 10-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, Dale Miller and Eddie Stewart were convicted of manslaughter while Michael Dixon was found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.

During the hearing the name of juror Mr Black was mistakenly read out by the clerk, despite the fact he was suppose to have complete anonymity.

On the night before the jury was due to return its verdicts on John Henry Sayers and his co-accused Tony Leach, Mr Black received an anonymous phone call in which threats were made against his family and he was offered pounds 10,000, it has been claimed.

Hours later Sayers was found not guilty on all charges. The day after that Leech was also acquitted.

Now Hay has revealed his part in the jury-nobbling attempt in court, claiming he was driven to a remote phone box in Hetton-le-Hole, Sunderland, and handed a script to read down the phone.

Hay told the jury at Woolwich Crown Court: "Stephen Sayers said to me, 'You know you are going to have to make a phone call tonight and nobble them?' "I agreed and nothing more was said about it."

John Henry Sayers, 47, his brother Stephen Sayers, 45, and Mark Rowe, 40, are on trial at London's Woolwich Crown Court charged with perverting the course of justice.

During the 2002 trial at Leeds Crown Court the jury was freed to carry out their deliberations after returning their guilty verdicts for Miller, Stewart and Dixon. …

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