“Youth inflicted the fatal wound”

A youth delivered the fatal blow to Hailsham dad Darren Croxton, a court has heard.

In summing up the Crown’s case Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the jury of five men and seven women that the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was the person who had inflicted the fatal stab wound on the 25-year-old.

The youth and 19-year-old Stuart Johnson have both pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Croxton in January last year and are currently standing trial at Lewes Crown Court.

During the trial the court heard that Mr Croxton had arranged for two separate groups to meet in an isolated wooded area off The Diplocks estate in Hailsham on the afternoon of January 22, 2012 and for a fight to occur.

It was called following an incident between Mr Johnson and Darren Croxton’s cousin Carl Jordan.

Mr Jordan had been punched by Johnson, the court was told, and he is said to have told him, “Darren Croxton is my cousin and he’ll make you disappear.”

Prosecutor Mr Bennetts said, “Mr Johnson was in it together with the youth.

“In that he knew a knife was to be used in an attack upon Mr Croxton.”

He said Mr Croxton sustained a further two stab wounds during a second attack.

Mr Bennetts said a knife found in Johnson’s room had been referred to by a pathologist as a ‘potential candidate’ for some of the stab wounds inflicted upon Mr Croxton.

He said Johnson, who had not given evidence during the trial, had discarded a t-shirt and hat he had worn on the night of the attack.

Defence barrister Simon Russell-Flint QC, defending for the youth, also addressed the jury and said Darren Croxton had gone armed to the fight and ‘rounded up two extras, two heavies, bits of muscle.’

He said that at one stage a witness said he had seen Mr Croxton with a knife, adding “The youth did not have a knife but Darren Croxton did.”

The jury is expected to retire early next week to consider its verdict.

The trial continues at Lewes Crown Court.