The Old Bailey erupted in fury and tears as two travellers were cleared of killing a young relative in a brawl at Cobham Services.

Former amateur boxer Simon Baker, 22, battered Hughie Saunders over the head with a plasterer's whisk

His cousin Mikey Coyle, 21, who was armed with a shovel, stood by and yelled "I'm the man" during the fight, which horrified staff and customers.

Baker had denied murder, saying he had acted in self-defence as CCTV appeared to show him backing off as Mr Saunders prepared to strike him.

The court heard that the incident, on June 26 this year, followed a long-running feud.

Both defendants were cleared of murder after the jury deliberated for two days.

Security officers packed into court and Judge Anthony Leonard QC called for silence while the verdicts were delivered.

Afterwards, the defendants appeared relieved in the dock but were faced with a mixed reaction from the public gallery with shouts of "you know what you did" and "not guilty".

Jurors had heard how fitness fanatic Mr Saunders, 20, who was known as Quhey, suffered catastrophic head injuries and died in hospital two days after the confrontation with Baker and Coyle.

Prosecutor Sandip Patel QC told how the victim, from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, had been returning home from a family wedding in Wales in a Ford Focus with a friend, aunt and uncle.

They decided to stop for refreshments around the time the defendants, travelling in a van loaded with building tools, also pulled onto the forecourt.

As they made to drive off, Coyle and Baker recognised the victim and turned back "spoiling for a fight", going the wrong way around a roundabout to park in front of the Ford Focus.

They jumped out and Baker "squared up" to Mr Saunders and "heated words were exchanged," the prosecutor said.

Coyle, of Barnes, was heard shouting "I'm the man, I'm the man" before the war of words turned violent.

Days after the fight, Baker handed himself in to police, saying he had acted in "self-defence".

Giving evidence, Baker of Green Lane, Outwood, near Redhill, told jurors he had wanted to confront Mr Saunders about rumours circulating on the travellers' grapevine to "clear the air".

The builder told jurors: "Me and Quhey were relatively related to each other. I knew who he was.

"I heard that Quhey was supposed to be saying a few things about me and the travelling community. I thought I did not know why he was saying it. I just thought I would ask him why he was saying those things.

"It was going on for a few years. Every now and again someone would tell me. Just basically when he sees me he's going to give me a hiding."

Following the verdict, a female relative collapsed in tears in the courtroom while others stormed out yelling "I want justice served. I want justice served," before being ejected from the building by guards.