Ex-PNE schoolboy cleared of killing police officer

PC Neil Doyle
PC Neil Doyle
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A former Preston North End schoolboy footballer has been acquitted of the murder of a newly-married policeman.

Christopher Spendlove, 30, was acquitted by a jury of the murder of PC Neil Doyle during a Christmas night out in Liverpool.

He was also cleared of an alternative charge of manslaughter by joint enterprise.

He was also acquitted of wounding with intent and wounding to PC Doyle’s colleague Robert Marshall, and cleared of grievous body harm with intent and an alternative count of inflicting GBH in relation to another colleague Michael Steventon.

Meanwhile, a football agent and his friend were convicted of the manslaughter of PC Doyle, who was delivered a fatal “piledriver” punch that left him lying in a city centre gutter.

Football consultant Andrew Taylor, 29, and sports event manager Timmy Donovan, 30, were found guilty of the manslaughter of PC Doyle by joint enterprise after they went “out of their way” to get into a fight with three off-duty policemen in Liverpool centre.

The friends had each denied striking Pc Doyle, 36, who was punched twice before staggering across the street after Taylor “baited” him for a fight around 3am on December 19, 2014.

Taylor and Donovan had been on trial for the murder of Pc Doyle but were acquitted of that charge.

They were unanimously convicted of the alternative charge of manslaughter by the jury which deliberated for just over 17 hours at Liverpool Crown Court.

Both were found guilty of wounding with intent to PC Marshall.

Taylor was also found guilty of grievous body harm with intent to PC Steventon who suffered a fractured cheekbone.

Donovan was cleared of the same charge and an alternative of inflicting GBH.

They are yet to be sentenced.