BREAKING NEWS: Mark Watson found guilty of murder

Alexandre Sokolnikov
Alexandre Sokolnikov

A man has been found guilty in the Ceylon Place murder trial.

Mark Watson, 49, showed no emotion as the jury found him guilty of murdering Russian Alexandre Sokolnikov. He will be sentenced next month.

The six men and six women returned a verdict of guilty in the trial of Mark Watson, who had denied murdering Alexandre Sokolnikov, known as Russian Alex, in a row about a woman in Ceylon Place last February.

Jurors asked to see video tapes again of police interviewing 49-year-old Watson hours after Mr Sokolnikov died.

During the seven-day trial the court heard that both Watson and Mr Sokolnikov were homeless and were regulars at the Salvation Army Rebourne Centre in Langney Road as well as at the Oasis Outreach Centre in Seaside.

Watson admitted plunging a kitchen knife into Mr Sokolnikov’s chest when a row erupted at a basement flat where Miss Leah Gar lived, but he denied murder.

He claimed he was holding the knife in self-defence when Mr Sokolnikov attacked him.

Thirty-eight-year-old Mr Sokolnikov staggered out into the street before collapsing on the pavement.

Despite the best efforts of passers by including renowned trauma consultant Roly Cottingham who opened up the dying man’s chest in a bid to save him using torchlight, he died within an hour.

The court heard Watson began a relationship with Miss Gar and moved into her flat in Ceylon Place but it ended after a few weeks because of his aggressive behaviour when he was drinking.

Three weeks after they broke up Mr Sokolnikov, who had been living rough in Eastbourne for 14 years, moved into Miss Gar’s flat.

Charles Miskin QC, prosecuting told the court trouble flared between the two men on the night of February 21 when Watson turned up at Miss Gar’s flat and wanted a reconciliation with her.

Mr Miskin said, “The defendant stabbed Alex to death in Miss Gar’s living room and the motive was jealousy.”