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Tipu's killer set for new jail term after claiming to be Tup Tup Palace shooter

Michael McDougall.
Michael McDougall.

A killer who murdered a takeaway boss has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice after claiming to be a gunman responsible for a nightclub shooting.

Michael McDougall, 50, previously of Hylton Avenue, Marsden, South Shields and now an inmate of HMP Wakefield, has been found guilty of the charge following a trial at the Old Bailey in London.

Michael Dixon.

Michael Dixon.

The offence relates to a drive-by shooting outside Tup Tup Palace in Newcastle, on June 6, 2015.

A 24-year-old doorman was shot in the arm when a gunman on a motorbike opened fire using a sawn-off shotgun.

McDougall was jailed for a life sentence of 34 years in April 2016 after he was found guilty of shooting Sunderland dad-of-two Tipu Sultan.

The 32-year-old businessman had run the Herbs & Spice Kitchen takeaway in Lake Avenue, Marsden, South Shields, with his family.

John Henry Sayers.

John Henry Sayers.

McDougall was also found guilty of two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

His co-accused Michael Mullen, 24, of Hawthorne Avenue, Cleadon Park, South Shields, who had taken McDougall to and from the murder scene on the back of a motorbike, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

He was jailed for 12 years.

Just weeks after he was jailed McDougall launched an appeal against his conviction, which was denied by a judge.

Today, McDougall was found guilty of perverting the justice over a false statement made in 2017 as part of the inquiry into the Tup Tup incident.

The court heard the convicted murderer told "a pack of lies" by trying to claim he was the gunman, jurors heard.

He was jointly charged and stood trial alongside John Henry Sayers, 54, of Fossway, Walker, Newcastle, and Michael Dixon, 50, of no fixed address, who were accused of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to possess a firearm.

Sayers, a well-known hard man, has been cleared of ordering the ride-by shooting of a bouncer because his son had been thrown out of a nightclub, but has been told he still faces a prison term for perverting the course of justice.

The court heard doorman Matthew McCauley was lucky to survive the shooting, which also left two other members of staff injured.

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

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.

A fourth defendant - Russell Sturman, 26, from Gosforth, 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.

However, he is a convicted armed robber and tax-evader and said to be a name to be feared on Tyneside.

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

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 Friday, September 21.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "This case was thoroughly investigated by a team of dedicated detectives.

"The evidence was subjected to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to charge and it was only right that this evidence was put in front of a jury.

"We respect the decision the jury has made."