SUSSEX Police have said they believe Hailsham’s tight-knit community will help them to find the killer of Hailsham dad, Darren Croxton.
Police and emergency services were called Bramble Drive in Hailsham at about 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon to find Mr Croxton collapsed in the road with serious stabbing injuries.
He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital but despite efforts to save him he died at 7.20am on Monday morning. Police believe a nife was used during a pre-planned fight in woods near Bramble Drive. Two 16-year-old boys arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder, remain in custody.
Wealden District Commander, Chief Inspector Dick Coates said: “I have every faith that the people of Hailsham, who are a very close-knit community, will rally round and help us to get justice for the family of Mr Croxton.
“My officers are here to help and listen to any concerns the community has. I have been speaking with local people, schools, and businesses and will continue to do so over the coming days.
“A street meeting will be held in the area within the next week which I will attend and details of this will be circulated.”
A police cordon remains at the scene as a full scale murder investigation gets under way.
Neighbours in Bramble Drive said they knew something serious had happened as there were numerous emergency service vehicles and the Sussex Police helicopter was circling overhead.
Claire Roberts said, “We were having our Sunday roast and we heard the helicopter. We then saw the ambulance go by. My mum told me she had heard someone had been stabbed.”
Another resident Cathy Parsons said, “I could see a group of lads in the woods. I knew something wasn’t quite right so I went back inside and within a few minutes the helicopters were out.
“I went back outside and saw the young lad lying there.
“This is a quiet cul-de-sac and it’s a horrible thing to see. It will stay with me for a while.”
As news of Mr Croxton’s death spread on Monday morning, floral tributes were also left at the roadside where the disturbance, which police have described as a serious public order incident, took place.
Mr Croxton’s family were among the mourners who left bouquets of flowers.
A former pupil at Hailsham Community College, acting principal Phil Matthews said: “We are saddened and shocked by the tragic death of Darren Croxton who is a former HCC student. The college wishes to convey our deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time.”
Police enquiries are continuing and Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley said, “This involved a number of young people.
“We are in the early stages of the investigation and are trying to establish the exact circumstances that lead up to the victim receiving theses fatal injuries.”
Wealden District Commander Dick Coates said, “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased at this incredibly difficult time.
“Local officers are present in the area since yesterday and will continue to do so.
“I would urge the local community to please come forward with any worries and concerns they have and don’t hesitate to talk to our officers.
“This was an isolated incident involving people who were known to each other and I have no reason to believe that the local community are at any further risk.
“I have every faith that the people of Hailsham will come forward and assist detectives with their inquiries.”
Police are appealing to the public to come forward with any information, no matter how insignificant. They can speak to officers in confidence by calling 101 and quoting Operation Consul or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111