Property tycoon Nicholas Hoogstraten has pledged never to pay a penny to the family of a man he was cleared of killing.

Although the Hove-based multi-millionaire was cleared on appeal of business rival Mohammed Raja's manslaughter, High Court judge Mr Justice Lightman ruled on December 19 he had recruite two "highly dangerous thugs" to kill Mr Raja to halt a civil action Mr Raja was bringing against him.

Hoogstraten, 60, has so far failed to meet a £500,000 legal costs order made against him. Mr Raja's family is claiming damages in excess of £6 million from Hoogstraten but yesterday he vowed: "They will never get a penny from me, never."

The judge found on the balance of probability, Hoogstraten had been involved in the killing and barred him, until he pays up, from pursuing a claim that £1 million of his assets had been seized unlawfully by sequestrators during earlier stages of the complex legal dispute.