Bouncer's shooting ordered by hard man after son ejected from club, court told

The case is being heard at the Old Bailey.
The case is being heard at the Old Bailey.

A well known local hard man ordered the ride-by shooting of a bouncer because his son was thrown out of a nightclub, a court has heard.

Doorman Matthew McCauley was lucky to survive after he was shot outside the Tup Tup Palace in Newcastle in 2015.

John Sayers, 54, is accused of arranging for the shooting to be carried out weeks after his son was ejected from the club.

Two other members of staff were also injured when alleged gunman Michael Dixon, 50, rode up on a motorbike and opened fire with a sawn-off shotgun.

Sayers and Dixon are on trial at the Old Bailey for their alleged involvement in the incident on June 6 2015.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC said Mr McCauley took the brunt of the shot and "could so easily" have been killed.

He told the jury on Monday: "The prosecution case is that that gunman was the second defendant, Michael Dixon.

"He was sent to carry out that shooting by the first defendant John Henry Sayers, in the aftermath of an incident at the club a couple of weeks earlier in which Mr Sayers' son was thrown out of the club, and in the process doormen at the club had punched his son.

"Mr Sayers has acquired and promoted a reputation in the north east of England as a man to be feared, and he wouldn't allow his name to be disrespected."

Russell Sturman, 26, allegedly provided important information to Sayers before the shooting "knowing what the consequence of providing that information would be - serious violence", Mr Denison said.

Convicted murderer Michael McDougall, 50, who is serving a life sentence, is accused of telling "a pack of lies" by trying to claim he was the gunman to protect Sayers.

Sayers' reputation "as a man to be feared" meant that "doors are opened for his family", Mr Denison said.

"While others have to queue outside for the chance to pay to get into the main parts of the club, his family are given free entry, free access to the VIP areas and the best service, just to avoid serious trouble," 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."

Dixon and Sayers, both from Walker in Newcastle, are charged with conspiracy to murder.

Russell Sturman, of Gosforth, is charged with assisting an offender.

McDougall, of no fixed address, is charged with perverting the course of justice.

They all deny the charges against them.

The trial continues.