A SUPERGRASS at the centre of a jury nobbling trial has pocketed more than £30,000 from police for information he provided, it has emerged.
Police informant Errol Hay admitted making a late-night phone call to a jury member in the murder trial of Freddie Knights, who was gunned down on his mother’s doorstep in 2000.
Hay has claimed he was ordered to make the chilling threat by John Henry Sayers in a bid to ensure his acquittal.
But Sayers’ barrister, Jonathon Goldberg QC, has claimed Hay confessed to the crime because rival Paddy Conroy plotted to send Sayers back to prison.
The trial at Woolwich Crown Court has heard that Hay received costly perks for shopping his underworld criminal accomplices.
The 49-year-old turned his home into a drugs den and dealt cocaine in pubs and clubs across Tyneside during a criminal career spanning three decades.
But he was also working as a police informant.
And over a 10-year period he pocketed more than £30,000 from Northumbria Police by turning in his criminal accomplices, the court heard.
And since turning supergrass, he has also secured air fares for his Thai wife to jet across the globe three times and visit him in England, it was claimed.
The police purse has also shelled out more than £5,700 for his family’s rent, and is currently paying £30 a month for school fees for the couple’s two children to get their education in Pataya, totalling £440, it was said.
When he called claiming he was desperately missing home, his police contacts shipped a box across the globe containing Batchelor cup-a-soups, Colman’s mustard and mint sauce, the court was told.
Sayers’ barrister, Jonathon Goldberg QC, said: “Your wife receives £300 a month. She gets £3,600 a year sent to Thailand and in that country that value is worth five times what it is worth here.”
He added: “It’s a nice little earner for you.” Hay fled Tyneside in 2005, claiming he feared for his life after becoming embroiled in criminal activities with the Sayers family.
Two years after Mr Knights’ killing and following a 10-week trial at Leeds Crown Court, Dale Miller and Eddie Stewart were convicted of manslaughter while Michael Dixon was found guilty of conspiracy to commit GBH with intent. During the hearing, the name of juror Robert Black was mistakenly read out.
And on the night before the jury were due to return their verdicts on Sayers and his co-accused Tony Leach, Mr Black received an anonymous phone call in which threats were made against his family and he was offered £10,000, it was claimed.
Hours later Sayers was found not guilty of all charges and a day later, Leech was also acquitted. But Mr Goldberg claimed it wasn’t Hay who made the call, but that he had been given a “rehearsed” insight into what happened in a bid to topple Sayers and put him back behind bars.
Mr Goldberg said: “Sayers and Leach were always in a favourable position during the trial compared to the other three who had actually been at the murder scene. But Sayers and Leach were said to have organised it and had the perfect alibis. It was perfectly logical that they would have got away with the murder.
“They were supposed to be the Mr Bigs who organised it. It’s hard to prove it against them because they weren’t there.
“The last thing Sayers would have wanted that day was to risk a retrial because everything was going nicely in that direction. But an enemy of Sayers would have wanted the trial to collapse.”
On the night of Sayers’ acquittal, hundreds of Tyneside criminals congregated at a pub on Westgate Road to celebrate his freedom, the court heard.
Hay had claimed that during the party, Sayers had approached him and simply whispered in his ear: “Thank you.” But Mr Goldberg said it was fantasy dreamed up by Hay and in fact he was seduced by Sayers’ fame but was insignificant to the famous hardman.
Sayers, 47, his brother Stephen Sayers, 45, and Mark Rowe, 40, are on trial charged with perverting the course of justice by intimidating a juror and offering an inducement.
They all deny the charges and the trial continues.