A dad has walked free from court after a jury cleared him of plotting to murder a love rival.
Kevin King, 31, was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder Mark Walsh after a second trial at Preston Crown Court.
Mr Walsh was shot at close range in an alley behind his house in Accrington, Lancs, on January 12 last year.
In the aftermath of the attack – in which he was peppered with more than 100 pellets from a sawn-off shotgun – he said the gunman’s accomplice looked like his enemy Kevin King.
But at the time of the shooting, HGV driver King was in Alton, Surrey.
His best friend and brother-in-law to be Donovan Wallace, 30, was convicted of shooting Mr Walsh with the help of Jack Wilding, 20 – the man it is now thought Mr Walsh saw running away.
King, of Lodge Lane, Lytham, always denied being part of the conspiracy telling the jury Wallace had acted on his own initiative after Mr Walsh tried to go through his front door the night before the shooting.
He admitted there was bad blood with Mr Walsh after his ex-girlfriend had left him for Mr Walsh and taken their daughter with her.
But he insisted he was going through the proper legal channels to gain access to the six-year-old and a court hearing was scheduled for the week Mr Walsh was attacked.
During the trial Mr Walsh accepted he could not have seen King at the scene of the shooting and said he suffered memory loss for the three months following the shooting.
However a consultant neurologist and neuropsychologist each confirmed there was no physical or psychological reason Mr Walsh would not be able to recall what had happened.
Summing up the trial Judge Stuart Baker asked the jury to consider whether Mr Walsh could be relied upon as a witness and whether his evidence about previous threats made by King could be trusted.
He said: “It is for you to decide whether that was a genuine error arising from trauma, the administration of morphine or as he says he having been previously threatened with being shot he thought Kevin King was the one who shot him, and persuaded himself that suspicion was right.”
King was cleared of the charge of conspiracy to murder Mr Walsh after a second trial at Preston Crown Court.
Wallace and Wilding were convicted last July following a trial in which the jury was unable to reach a verdict in respect of King.
He will now be released from prison, where he has been on remand.