A former Brookside actor who admitted driving the getaway car in a gangland shooting has been cleared of murder, it can be reported.
Brian Regan, 53, who played Terry Sullivan in Channel 4's Brookside, was found not guilty at Liverpool Crown Court over his role in the killing of nightclub doorman Bahman Faraji, 44.
He was convicted of two counts of perverting the course of justice by lying to police in the early stages of the murder investigation and disposing of a pair of gloves he wore on the night.
Regan, who was on bail for supplying cocaine when the murder took place, was jailed on 25 January for a total of four years and 10 months.
The facts can now be revealed after Mrs Justice Nicola Davies lifted reporting restrictions put in place to avoid prejudicing the trial of another defendant, Jason Gabbana, who was today convicted of murder.
Gabbana, 29, was found guilty of murder by an 11 to one majority at Liverpool Crown Court after standing trial accused of ordering Faraji's execution.
The victim, accused by Gabbana's defence of drug dealing and running an illegal protection racket, was gunned down at close range after he was lured to the Belgrave pub in Aigburth, Liverpool, on the evening of 24 February last year.
Ex-actor Regan admitted driving gunman Edward Heffey to and from the scene of the hit but told the jury he did not know his passenger was carrying a sawn off shotgun and planning to kill Faraji.
Regan joined Brookside from episode six and his character was at the centre of some of the Close's most dramatic storylines until his final appearance in 1997.
He said he was in Brookside when he began taking cocaine but never used the drug while he was working.
Leaving the programme had a "dramatic" effect on his life and income, he said.
He had denied murder along with Heffey, 40, Lee Dodson, 42, and Simon Smart, 32.
Following a three month trial, verdicts were returned on 24 January.
Smart, who lured Faraji to the pub, and gunman Heffey, of Beloe Street, both Liverpool, were convicted of murder by 11 to one majorities.
Dodson was found not guilty of arranging for Regan to drive the getaway car.
After he gave evidence in which he admitted driving the gunman, the court ordered security to be stepped up around Regan and security guards sat between him and the rest of the defendants.
He was also designated a "vulnerable prisoner" and held in an isolation wing in jail.
After 43 hours and five minutes of jury deliberations over nine days Regan gave a deep sigh and slumped into his seat when found not guilty.
When Heffey's guilty verdict was delivered, a woman and a young man in the public gallery angrily interrupted proceedings and had to be bundled out by police.
In the dock, Heffey appeared to lunge towards Regan and was swiftly taken down to the cells by security officers.
Mrs Justice Davies was forced to halt proceedings as several women in the jury burst into tears and Smart shouted at them: "You're having a laugh. This is my life."
When told to be quiet, Smart turned his back to the jurors and responded "What do you want me to do? Just sit here like a mug?" as his mother sobbed in the public gallery.
Nick Jones, defending Regan, said in mitigation: "In many respects he can be held up as an example of the awful effects of drugs.
"He has lost his wife, his home, his career and good standing and now he will lose his liberty."
The judge told the fallen star: "Whatever you lost in dealing cocaine, you assisted the spread of this addictive and destructive substance which brings misery to the lives of those who depend on it."
He was jailed for 28 months for each drugs offence, to be served concurrently, and 30 months for destroying the gloves and 12 months for lying to police, to be served concurrently but consecutive to the drugs sentence.
Regan showed no emotion as the judge directed the Prison Service to maintain his status as a vulnerable prisoner.
Gabbana, Smart and Heffey will be sentenced either tomorrow or on Monday, Mrs Justice Davies said.Suggest a correction