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Two charged over off-duty Pc death

Two men have been charged with the murder of an off-duty police constable.

Pc Neil Doyle, 36, was attacked in Liverpool city centre in the early hours of Friday morning during a Christmas night out with colleagues.

Andrew Taylor, 28, of Cherry Tree Road, Huyton, and Christopher Spendlove, 30, of Brandearth Hey, Stockbridge Village, will appear at Liverpool Crown Court tomorrow.

Both defendants have also each been charged with two counts of Section 18 assault, said Merseyside Police.

They will appear before Liverpool Magistrates' Court, sitting at the city's crown court building.

Janet Potter, head of the complex casework unit of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "I have today authorised Merseyside Police to charge 28-year-old Andrew Taylor, who is from Cherrytree Road, Huyton, and 30-year-old Christopher Spendlove, who is from Brandearth Hey, in Huyton with murder.

"I have also authorised them to charge both men with two counts of grievous bodily harm, contrary to Section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861, in relation to the two other men who were with Pc Doyle and were also attacked.

"This decision was taken under the Threshold Test in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"These men are now the subject of criminal proceedings and have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Pc Doyle and two other off-duty officers were attacked in Colquitt Street at around 3.15am on Friday.

The two officers were both treated in hospital for facial injuries.

Pc Doyle's widow Sarah said in a statement: "Neil was very well loved by all of his family, friends and colleagues and it is a great loss to us all.

"We are finding it extremely difficult to come to terms with what has happened and need time to be left to grieve."

The couple got married in July and were due to go on their honeymoon next month.

A post-mortem examination concluded that Pc Doyle died from a fatal bleed around the brain.

It is understood both defendants, said to be close friends, played football together while studying at Oklahoma City University in the United States.

They were team-mates at US soccer league outfit Austin Aztex who were managed at the time by former Everton star Adrian Heath.

Taylor returned to the UK to sign for non-league team Forest Green Rovers in 2009 before later moves to Burscough FC and Vauxhall Motors.

Spendlove stayed in the US and went on to play for Portland Phoenix, Wilmington Hammerheads and Oklahoma City Energy FC, where he was announced as a new assistant coach in January.

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