Two brothers have been cleared of the manslaughter of a popular doorman.
John and Scott McKean were on trial accused of killing Paul Jopling after a row over a cigarette led to “a fatal adrenalin rush”.
But yesterday prosecutors dropped the manslaughter case and the brothers pleaded guilty to affray. They will be sentenced at a later date.
Dad-of-three Mr Jopling collapsed just minutes after intervening in a violent disturbance involving the McKean brothers outside Decades nightclub in Consett, where he was a respected member of the door staff.
The 40-year-old, who lived with his wife Gemma and their children in Cutler’s Avenue, Consett, died in hospital a short time later as a result of blood loss caused when a renal aneurism, of which he was unaware, ruptured.
The two brothers of Durham Road, Blackhill, Consett, County Durham had denied manslaughter and affray.
Prosecutors had told the jury they believed it was the stress of the incident in the early hours of December 12 2010, that caused Mr Jopling’s blood pressure to rise and led to the rupture of the aneurism.
The incident began when, at 3.20am, John McKean was asked to leave after he lit up a cigarette inside the club.
The brothers were shown on CCTV leaving by an upstairs fire door. But, halfway down, John turned around and went back to kick the door.
When the bouncers opened the door John, 35, and Scott, 36, ran back up the stairs and began fighting with the doormen.
The altercation then continued down the stairs and Mr Jopling followed. The fight then broke up and the bouncers returned to the club.
But, just minutes later, Mr Jopling was seen to slump over a games machine and paramedics were called.
He was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham but he died at 5am.
Fellow doorman Marvin Campbell, who witnessed the disturbance, described Mr Jopling as “a nice man, funny, calm, collected and good at his job”.
He said: “He was good at diffusing the situation. Even if it was going really wrong he would calm them down.”