Two men jailed in Crawley murder investigation

Murdered Harrison Tomkins from Crawley in West Sussex

Two men have been jailed for a total of 50 years after being convicted of murdering Harrison Tomkins in Crawley.

The 25-year-old, suffered multiple stab wounds during the assault at a block of flats in Arthur Road at around 5.30am on Sunday 13 August last year.

Police and paramedics were on the scene within minutes and performed emergency first aid but despite their best efforts, Harrison, a lifeguard from Crawley, tragically died.

At Brighton Crown Court on Tuesday (23 April), Kaydon Prior, 23, of Hazelwick Avenue, Crawley, was sentenced to 28 years in custody and Jason Curtis, 22, of Lairdale Road, Lambeth, London, was jailed for 22 years after both being found guilty in February of Harrison’s murder following a four-week trial.

The pair were also found guilty of being in possession of an offensive weapon and Prior was additionally found guilty of common assault.

The court heard how Prior and Curtis had been out in Chelsea, London, to celebrate Curtis’ 22nd birthday, but made their way back to Crawley at around 1.30am.

During the journey, they found out Prior’s ex-girlfriend was out in Crawley town centre with another man. That man being Harrison Tomkins.

Prior and Curtis were then seen on CCTV outside Medusa cocktail bar at 3am looking for her, before getting a taxi to her flat in Arthur Road.

The pair gained entry to the communal area and heard her and Harrison inside the flat, prompting Prior to call for a taxi to go to his home address in Hazelwick Road. Curtis stayed behind.

Prior was seen on CCTV going into his flat and coming back out just four minutes later. He then returned to Arthur Road in the same taxi.

Prosecution argued that Prior returned home to get a key to his ex-girlfriend's flat and a knife in order to carry out the attack on Harrison, who was not known to him, and that he left Curtis watching the address.

At 5.30am, Prior and Curtis burst into Prior’s ex-girlfriend’s flat. Seconds later, Harrison was fatally stabbed multiple times.

A major search operation was launched by the Surrey and Sussex Police Major Crime Team, including the use of a drone, and Curtis was found hiding in bushes nearby.

During his arrest, he said to an officer: “Who’s been murdered? I’ve been on a night out as it’s my birthday.”

Shortly after, Prior was arrested at his home address and the pair were later charged and remanded in custody.

During the sentencing hearing, a victim impact statement was read out from Harrison’s mother, Natasha, who said: “Personally, my life will never be the same again. I will never be the person I was, as I too changed that day, we were robbed of the future of our son, a future we all wanted to witness and share, a future he worked hard to prepare for.

“The physical pain I experience every day is actually indescribable. I truly feel my heart is breaking. I struggle for breath, and what is happening around me, is a blur. “

“After the sentencing, Harrison's family issued the following statement: “Today we receive justice for our Harrison.

“We want to dedicate immense thanks to all our family and friends for supporting us through this lengthy and unnecessary trial and the financial and emotional suffering they have all endured as part of it. We were subjected to hearing so many lies from the defendants, and to date they have shown no sign of remorse or regret for what they have done.

“We are pleased with the outcome of today’s sentence however nothing will ever compensate for the loss of our Harrison and such a special life.

“The Crown Prosecution Service, Sussex Police and all of our family liaison officers have supported us through so many months to get us to this closure today and we are extremely grateful.”

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 unprovoked 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.”

More from Sussex and Hampshire News

On Air Now Nick Hobbs 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Now Playing
The Heat Is On Glenn Frey
Recently Played
  • Never Gonna Not Dance Again (Clean) Pink 15:29
  • Jet Paul Mccartney & Wings 15:24
  • Back To You Bryan Adams 15:19