Tyne & Wear

Drug dealer 'told to nobble juror'

A cocaine dealer was recruited to "nobble" a juror sitting on the murder trial of five men, a court has heard.

Errol Hay said he was told to ring juror Robert Black and offer him £20,000 to make the "right decision".

Mr Black was a jury member in the trial of five men charged over the killing of Newcastle criminal Freddie Knights in September 2000.

The five men were John Henry Sayers, Tony Leech, Michael Dixon, Dale Miller and Edward Stewart.

Mr Sayers and Mr Leech were later acquitted on all charges in the trial at Leeds Crown Court in 2002.

Miller and Stewart were convicted of manslaughter and Dixon was found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.

'Financial rewards'

All were convicted the day before Mr Black was contacted by Mr Hay.

Mr Sayers, 47, of Newcastle, his brother Stephen Sayers, 45, and Mark Rowe, 40, both of Byker in Newcastle, deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by intimidating a juror and offering an inducement.

Woolwich Crown Court heard Mr Hay was given a list of six phone numbers for a Mr Black by Stephen Sayers and Rowe on the instructions of John Sayers.

Mr Hay, 49, said he moved to Thailand in 2005 because he was "in fear for his life".

The court heard he contacted police while abroad to sell them the information about the case in return for "substantial financial rewards".

Mr Hay, a registered police informant, told the jury he had bargained with officers to get justice for Mr Knights' family.

But in cross-examination, Jonathan Goldberg QC, defending John Sayers, said Mr Hay was motivated by money alone.

Mr Goldberg suggested Mr Hay did make the call to Mr Black to influence the jury's deliberations but claimed he had done it on behalf of a Paddy Conroy, a rival of John Sayers.

The trial continues.

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