A jury took just four hours and 23 minutes to unanimously convict Idris Sadiq of the killing of 41-year-old Zabair Hussain.
Idris Sadiq and two other men attacked Mr Hussain with a baseball bat while punching and kicking him and left him for dead on Staniforth Road, Darnall, at around 11.20pm on New Year’s Eve.
While lying unconscious in the middle of the road, he was run over by a passing car moments later and died at the scene.
Sadiq, aged 30, of Darnall Road, had accepted being involved in the incident but claimed he had intervened in an attempt to stop the other two men attacking Mr Hussain.
Sadiq kept his head bowed and showed no reaction as the jury’s verdict was announced following a two-week trial.
There was a shout of ‘Yes’ from the public gallery as Mr Hussain’s family heard the guilty verdict.
Following the verdict, police said they are continuing to search for the other two men involved in the attack, including pursuing the possibility of extraditing suspect Sohail Khan, who fled to Pakistan 48 hours after the attack.
The court heard Sadiq has two previous convictions for dealing Class A drugs in 2005 and 2009 and in 2013 was convicted of criminal damage after being involved in an incident where baseball bats and machetes were brandished as a person’s car was attacked.
Ben Nolan QC, prosecuting, said: “The evidence points to the killing being drug-connected and the defendant running a successful Class A drug-dealing business. He and Sohail Khan used violent methods to further the interests of their business.”
He said Mr Hussain had been a ‘painfully thin’ drug user who was ‘not somebody who could stand up to any attack, let alone one of this severity’.
Speaking after the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Handley said: “This is a really positive result for our inquiry and I am pleased that a jury has convicted Sadiq of murder based on the overwhelming evidence we were able to put before the court.
“Mr Hussain’s family and friends have had to hear in detail about the horrific injuries inflicted upon their loved one, and have carried themselves with dignity throughout our investigation and the trial process.
“I would once again like to offer them my condolences as they begin to come to terms with the verdict today and what it means for their family.”
DCI Handley added that the search for the other two suspects involved in the killing is continuing.
He said: “The court has heard of a second man we are actively seeking in connection with this investigation – 29-year-old Sohail Khan. We understand Mr Khan is currently in Pakistan and we are working hard to identify opportunities to apprehend him and bring him before the courts, which includes the possibility of extradition.
“The court also heard about an as yet unidentified third man we believe played a role in Mr Hussain’s assault and death. We have active lines of enquiry, as well as a number of people who remain on bail in connection with the incident, therefore I am unable to elaborate much further at this time.
“However, I want Mr Hussain’s loved ones and the wider community in Darnall to be reassured that we remain committed to identifying those involved in Mr Hussain’s death and bringing them to justice. The positive result today marks one step forward for our investigation, but our work is not yet done.
“I offer my thanks to the community in Darnall for their support of our investigation, but I reiterate my appeal for information to them again now: if you have any information about those who may have been involved in Mr Hussain’s death, please come forward.
“If you have any information about the car that was used, a silver/grey Peugeot 307 with the registration number MC57 BZP, please tell us. We are yet to locate this car and it may yet hold vital clues for our investigation.
“If you are uncomfortable speaking directly to South Yorkshire Police, you can also ring Crimestoppers to pass information anonymously and in confidence by calling 0800 555 111.”
Three men aged 35, 32 and 31-years-old remain on bail in connection with the investigation.
Anyone with information that could help officers should call 101 or email [email protected] quoting incident number 1023 of 31 December 2015.