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Issue:- Saturday, 1 August 2015

Andrew Taylor and Timmy Donovan convicted of Neil Doyle's Manslaughter and Serious Assault

MERSEYSIDE Police Detective Superintendent Mike Shaw, said:- "On Friday, 31 July 2015, Andrew Taylor and Timmy Donovan have been convicted of Neil Doyle's Manslaughter and the Serious Assault of Robert Marshall. Taylor was also found guilty of the assault of Michael Steventon. We welcome the verdicts, but ultimately nothing can bring Neil back and his family are still struggling to come to terms with his loss and will never get over his tragic death. Neil and his friends, who were all off duty Police Officers, were enjoying a Christmas night with colleagues on the night of the attack and the three defendants were also enjoying a night out. Sadly, what should have been a good night out for both groups in the run up to Christmas turned in to a nightmare and resulted in the death of Neil Doyle and serious injuries to his colleagues. Taylor and Donovan, have also ruined their own lives. They were of previously good character and hadn't been involved in criminality prior to that night. In fact, Taylor, had a promising career ahead of him in the sporting world. But their rash actions, following the consumption of large amounts of alcohol, have ruined what could have been a bright future and their families, are also now left to pick up the pieces. Sadly, in drink some people seem to lose their common sense and throw caution to the wind. It's difficult to know what drives people on a night out to punch someone else, but all too often we see the consequences of people who strike out at others after having consumed alcohol. I hope that the verdicts given today will discourage others from hitting out in the heat of the moment and encourage them to think of the consequences of their actions. No night out should end like this and hopefully these verdicts will bring home the enormity of what they have done in a moment of madness and the pain and heartache they have caused. Throughout the court case the character and integrity of Neil Doyle, Robert Marshall and Michael Steventon was questioned by the defence and I would like to take this opportunity to say that their integrity has been borne out by decisions of the jury. It doesn't matter who you are, or what you do for a living, no-one deserves to be set upon like they were in the early hours of 19 December. CCTV footage shown to the jury shows that none of the officers offered any resistance when they were attacked and none of them hit back. Everything indicated that they were trying to diffuse the situation by walking away. Finally, I would like to thank the investigation team for the professionalism they have shown throughout this case. No investigation involving a death is easy, there is always a human cost and our officers are fully aware of that, but when a murder investigation involves a colleague it is even harder. You have to remain impartial and objective to ensure that you maintain the integrity of the case. Throughout the officers and staff working on this case have been ultimate professionals and I am very proud of all those involved."

Sarah Doyle, the wife of PC Neil Doyle, have issued the following statement following the conviction of Andrew Taylor and Timothy Donovan for manslaughter:- "Neil was a loving caring husband, son, son in law, brother and uncle. He was a friend to everyone he met. He was proud to be a policeman and loved to work with the public. No amount of justice will ever compensate for the loss of Neil and this is something that we as a family will have to live with every day for the rest of our lives. I will never forgive them for what they have done. One punch was all it took to kill Neil and people should be aware of their actions whilst under the influence of drink and the devastating consequences and heartbreak that one punch can do. Neil was killed on the streets that he lived to protect. I would like to thank the members of the public for their support and words of comfort. It has been overwhelming. I would also like to thank everyone at Merseyside Police. It is hard for them to have to deal with a tragedy like this at any time but when it's a colleague or friend then it must be even harder. Their professionalism and dedication throughout has been admirable and I don't think I can ever thank them enough for their continued support. Thanks also to the Prosecution Counsel Mr Johnson and Mr Riding. The hard part is not over for us we now need to be able to come to terms with what has happened and be left in private to grieve."

Christopher Spendlove was found not guilty of all charges.

Sentencing of Taylor and Donovan is scheduled to take place on Friday, 11 September 2015.

Breakdown of verdicts are as follows:-

Andrew Taylor...

Murder of PC Doyle - Not Guilty
Manslaughter of PC Doyle - Guilty
Wounding with intent of PC Marshall - Guilty
GBH with intent of PC Steventon - Guilty

Timmy Donovan...

Murder of PC Doyle - Not Guilty
Manslaughter of PC Doyle - Guilty
Wounding with intent of PC Marshall - Guilty
GBH with intent of PC Steventon - Not Guilty
GBH without intent of PC Steventon - Not Guilty

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