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Jury retires in murder trial of Darren Croxton
The jury in the case of a young dad stabbed to death have retired to consider their verdict.
Darren Croxton, of Hailsham, was stabbed on January 22 last year.
He died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital shortly after 7am on January 23.
Stuart Johnson, 19, of no fixed address, and a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, but from Hailsham, are accused of murdering Mr Croxton.
Both deny this count.
Jurors at Lewes Crown Court retired to consider their verdict at 10.30am today (February 20).
Jurors were previously told 25-year-old Mr Croxton had arranged for two separate groups to meet in an isolated wooded area at 4.30pm and for a fight to occur.
The court heard that at the location, off The Diplocks estate in Hailsham, Kai Smith started fighting Tom Venton, who had previously dated his girlfriend.
Jurors were told how the group were planning to settle matters “one on one” having been part of two separate groups who had been involved in a scuffle in Hellingly the previous night.
Philip Bennett, prosecuting, said while the two scuffled, Mr Croxton, from Hailsham, was stabbed once in the thigh with a nine-inch hunting or gutting knife by the 17-year-old, who was 16 at the time of the incident.
He said Mr Croxton ran away but the boy and Johnson, 18 at the time of the incident, chased him. Mr Bennett said Mr Croxton was then stabbed two more times and the Crown Prosecution Service believe it was Johnson who was responsible because of blood stains on his clothes.
But the defence deny this.
Simon Russell-Flint, who is defending the younger boy, said the young dad’s own actions brought about his death.
Mr Russell-Flint described how witnesses had lied “horrifically and sadly” in the evidence box.
He said: “What cannot be tolerated by five witnesses – five friends of Darren Croxton – is that Darren Croxton might be considered by you to have brought about his own misfortune.”
He claimed that these friends felt that Mr Croxton’s death should not “go unpunished” and were trying to push the blame.
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