A VICTIM’S family say a fatal stabbing has torn friendships apart as his killer was jailed for life.

Craig Ghochani was found guilty of the murder of James ‘Jimmy’ Fitzgerald, 29, in Haywards Heath in December last year.

He plunged a knife into Jimmy’s back, causing fatal injuries.

At Lewes Crown Court the 29-year-old was found guilty of murder and was jailed for life.

Ghochani had been with pal James Creaghan, 28, and all three knew each other when a row erupted on December 21 last year.

Jimmy had shouted: “Come back here and fight like a man.”

One of his attackers had shouted “that’s what you get” as he stabbed him in the street, the court was told.

Now, following Ghochani’s conviction, Mr Fitzgerald’s family say the trial has had a devastating impact on the lives of all involved, and warned of the consequences of knife crime.

They said: “No amount of justice can ever bring back our Jimmy. The piece of us all that we lost that day simply cannot be replaced. He really was one in a million.

“The last two weeks of this trial have taken a lot out of all of us, including the defendants and their families.

“This tragic event has affected everyone, divided families and friendships and changed lives. We must now take a stand against knife crime.”

Ghochani, of Barn Cottage Lane, was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 22 years by Judge Christine Laing QC.

Eloise Marshall QC, prosecuting, told the court: “A witness said they both got out of the car and went for him like pack dogs.

“Kicking and punching him while he was down.”

Ghochani plunged the knife into Jimmy’s back, and the weapon was later found in a nearby pub car park.

Mr Creaghan shared a flat with Jimmy and all three men were known to each other.

Jimmy suffered a heart attack and died in the back of an ambulance on his way to hospital.

In court Mr Creaghan held his head in his hands after the jury cleared him of murder.

After the attack police cordoned off the area, and five arrests were initially made, but three people were released without charge.