Four defendants found not guilty of murder of man outside Wigan Parish Church
Two men and two boys accused of killing a dad in the grounds of Wigan Parish Church have been acquitted of his murder.
Mr Justice Turner directed a jury at Manchester Crown Court to find Lewis Peake, Michael Wilson and two youths not guilty of the murder of Steven McMyler.
They still face charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to rob, which all defendants deny.
Judge Turner told the jury this morning that arguments had taken place in their absence to resolve a “legal and procedural matter”.
He said: “The upshot of that argument is that the four defendants will no longer face the charge of murder as a matter of law.”
The court clerk asked the acting foreman of the jury if he agreed that each defendant had been found not guilty, to which he replied “yes” each time.
Lewis Peake, 30, of James Street, Little Lever, Bolton, Michael Wilson, 20, of Northfield Close, Kirkby, and two youths, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, continue to stand trial.
The judge told the jury to approach the remaining counts on the indictment in "exactly the same way" they would have done before the not guilty verdict.
Mr McMyler, 34, died in the church grounds after being kicked in the head with a “substantial level of force” on the evening of August 6.
It is alleged he was the victim of a plot to rob his expensive Rolex watch.
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