The family of Hailsham dad, Darren Croxton, who was stabbed to death in a fight last year, have paid tribute to him after a 17-year-old youth was convicted of his manslaughter yesterday.
The teenager, who media cannot name, was sentenced to seven years in a detention centre after being found guilty by a jury at Lewes Crown Court following a six-week trial. The youth, who was aged 16 at the time of the offence, was found not guilty of murder.
Mr Justice Singh said the youth had been in detention since January 2012 so would be out on licence in about two-and-a-half years.
A second man, 19-year-old Stuart Johnson of no fixed abode, was found not guilty of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter by the jury who had deliberated for three days before giving their verdicts yesterday afternoon.
Darren Croxton, 25, died in hospital from stab wounds after being found collapsed in Bramble Drive, Hailsham on Sunday, January 22 last year. The stab wounds had been inflicted during a pre-planned fight involving several other local people in woods near the Diplock Estate.
The court heard how a knife wound to his left thigh had severed a femoral artery, causing fatal haemorrhaging and cardiac arrest and Mr Croxton died the following day.
Following the trial, Darren’s family released a statement which said: “We are pleased that the 17-year-old has been convicted of manslaughter but disappointed that Stuart Johnson was acquitted.
“Darren did not deserve this tragic ending to his young life, he leaves behind a child who has to grow up without her father.
“We are all devastated and feel that the huge whole left in our lives by his death will never be filled.”
We would like to thank everybody who have helped and worked on the investigation for all their hard work and dedication.”