Croxton trial: victim was in fight with three men day before fatal stabbing, court hears

Darren Croxton
Darren Croxton

The cousin of Hailsham dad Darren Croxton, who died after being stabbed in an organised fight, has given evidence in the murder trial.

Darren Croxton, 26, died on January 23. Stuart Johnson, 19, of no fixed abode, and a 17-year-old Hailsham youth, who cannot be named due to his age, deny his murder and are standing trial at Lewes Crown Court.

Yesterday (January 21), exactly one year on, Darren’s cousin Carl Jordan told the court he had received scratches in an altercation with three men when he walked home from the pub with his step-son Kai Smith and friend Colin Stock-Delgardo the night before the fatal incident. Carl said he discussed it with his cousin Darren the morning after (January 21).

Carl told the court, “He (Darren) said that he knew who the lads were and that he had spoken to them and that they were adamant that they wanted to have a fight with me and Kai. I said yes.”

Darren and a friend took Carl and Kai to the Diplocks Estate, where they were due to meet their rivals. Carl said they arrived in a car park and saw ‘a few lads’ in scarves and hoodies and walked over a bridge and into a clearing in the woods behind the Diplocks Estate.

Carl said Kai and another man were fighting when another fight started between Darren and another man.

Carl said, “His (Darren’s) reaction was that he stepped back and put his hands up to defend himself. In my head all I remember hearing was ‘there’s something wrong, there’s something wrong’ and he (Darren) ran straight past me.”

Carl ran after Darren but told the court he was pulled in to some water by some other men and kicked and hit.

He said, “I curled up. I had been thrown into a ditch and I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Carl said he managed to get up and went to find Darren in Bramble Drive.

He was asked by prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC how he felt after the incident and he said ‘shocked’.

However, Alan Kent QC, defending the youth in the case, said Carl had lied to police.

Mr Kent said, “You told lie after lie after lie, giving a false picture of what happened that afternoon in the woods.”

Carl admitted he had lied but said he had done so to protect Kai.

He added, “I thought it was the right thing to do and it really wasn’t.”

A post mortem examination revealed the fatal wound on Darren Croxton’s left thigh was 2cm across and 5-8cm deep and had cut through an artery. The wound led to haemorrhaging and cardiac arrest.

The trial continues.