Violence erupts after Darren Bates hit-and-run murder verdict.

ANGRY scenes erupted as a drug dealer was found guilty of murdering a man by deliberately mowing him down.

A heated confrontation broke out in the corridors of Liverpool Crown Court after Clifford Tucker, 25, was convicted of “using his car as a weapon” to kill 23-year-old Darren Bates.

Minutes earlier, members of Mr Bates’ family had clapped and cheered as jurors unanimously found Tucker guilty of murder early on March 17.

Some of Tucker’s supporters broke down in sobs, while others swore and shouted. Several then stormed out the courtroom.

But minutes later when Mr Bates’s family and friends left the courtroom, emotional arguments broke out in the corridor.

A police officer attempted to restrain other members of Tucker’s family, who tried to rush the door to try and join the melee.

Police officers managed to separate the two families, but fighting later broke out outside the building as the two families left.

Merseyside Police said officers intervened in the initial incident outside the court between several women and patrols were later called following verbal exchanges and a woman being assaulted in Derby Square. No-one was injured and enquiries are being made to trace any offenders.

The scenes follow an emotional seven-day trial when jurors heard Tucker had mown down Mr Bates on North Hill Street, Toxteth, over a drugs row.

The court heard Tucker had turned off the headlights of his grey Peugeot 308 and sped towards Mr Bates, dragging him along the road.

Paramedics took Mr Bates to Liverpool’s Royal Hospital where he was put on a life support machine.

But it soon became obvious he would not recover and doctors turned off the machine.

Tucker, of Springwood Avenue, Garston, dumped his car in Dunsdon Close, Woolton, and lay low for eight days before the police caught up with him.

He later admitted hitting Mr Bates, but insisted it was an “accident” saying he was just trying to “scare them” after a previous skirmish.

But the seven women and four men of the jury unanimously rejected his defence. As they returned their guilty verdict, Tucker shook his head. He later tried to walk out of the dock, back to the cells.

When he was eventually led down, he shouted to his sobbing mum: “It’s a miscarriage of justice”.

Judge Gerald Clifton adjourned sentencing until Friday, but warned Tucker: “The sentence for murder is fixed at life imprisonment.”

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