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Video: Two Men Convicted in Fatal Stabbing of Crawley Lifeguard

Two individuals have been found guilty of murder following the fatal stabbing of a man in Crawley.

Harrison Tomkins, 25, succumbed to multiple stab wounds after being attacked in an apartment complex on Arthur Road around 5:30 am on Sunday, August 13, last year.

Despite rapid response and emergency care from police and paramedics, Harrison, a lifeguard from Crawley, passed away due to his injuries. On Friday, February 9, at Chichester Crown Court, Kaydon Prior, 23, from Hazelwick Avenue, Crawley, and Jason Curtis, 22, from Lairdale Road, Lambeth, London, were convicted of his murder after a four-week trial.

In addition to the murder charge, both men were found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon, and Prior was further convicted of common assault.

The court was informed that Prior and Curtis had gone to Chelsea, London, for Curtis’ 22nd birthday celebration and returned to Crawley around 1:30 am. Discovering that Prior’s former girlfriend was in Crawley town center with another man, identified as Harrison Tomkins, they attempted to locate her, eventually reaching her apartment on Arthur Road.

Surveillance footage captured Prior leaving and then returning to the scene with a key to the woman’s apartment and a knife, planning to attack Harrison, whom he did not know personally, while Curtis kept watch.

The attack occurred at 5:30 am when Prior and Curtis entered the woman’s flat, leading to Harrison’s fatal stabbing.

A significant police search ensued, with Curtis found hiding in bushes nearby. Upon arrest, Curtis claimed ignorance of the murder, stating he had been out celebrating his birthday. Prior was apprehended at his residence shortly afterward, and both were charged and held in custody.

Sentencing for Prior and Curtis is scheduled for April 23.

Harrison Tomkins was fatally stabbed on 13 August 2023
Harrison Tomkins was fatally stabbed on 13 August 2023

Following conviction, Harrison’s family issued the following statement: “As a family, we are pleased with this result and feel justice has been served.

“Harrison hasn’t got a voice today, so we will speak on behalf of him.

“Firstly, we would like to thank Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their fast-moving investigation, which has led to today’s result.

“Thank you also to our Family Liaison Officers, the ambulance service, the numerous witnesses and the jury for reaching their verdict today. And to all our family and friends who have supported us through such a horrific time.

“Harrison was innocent in all of this, taken by surprise and killed as he laid in bed, with no time to defend himself.

“We knew our son and he didn’t move in any of these circles or know this way of life.

“We were an amazing family, completely content, loving, supportive and protective. Except in August last year our family was destroyed that fateful day – the day I could not protect my son.

“Harrison, our first born son and brother to his two adoring sisters was just the greatest, he saw the best in everyone he met. He was a lover of life.

“Nothing said or done can help justify this senseless loss of life.

“Going through this trial has been as traumatic as the day we were told Harrison had been killed. We have had to relive it all over again, while listening to Prior and Curtis’ lies throughout.

“Since the omission of any remorse and that my son was murdered whilst asleep, my only hope is they serve the maximum sentence possible.

“They have not just changed my life for the worse, but so many people from my family and close friends, and I have to ask ‘was it worth it?’”

Case Officer Detective Police Constable Elliott Lander, of the Major Crime Team, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to get the justice that Harrison richly deserves today.

“I never got to meet Harrison, but I have learned so much about him and have seen how greatly loved he was by all who knew him.

“Harrison was killed in a frenzied attack that he had no chance to defend himself from. Prior and Curtis will both rightly now have to live with the devastating consequences of their actions for a considerable period of their lives in prison.

“On behalf of Harrison and all his family and friends, I’d like to thank those who came forward and supported our investigation.”

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers, of the Major Crime Team, said: “I echo Detective Police Constable Elliott Lander and would like to add how incredible Harrison’s family have been throughout what has been a terrible time for them.

“I commend them for the way they have conducted themselves and their incredible bravery throughout the trial.

“This was a horrendous and unproved attack on a young man who had simply been on a night out enjoying himself.

“Justice has been served today and our thoughts very much remain with Harrison and his family during this incredibly distressing time.”

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