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Crime

Crawley man sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter in Langley Green

A young man who stabbed and killed another man, who was unknown to him, has been sentenced to life imprisonment and made the subject of a Section 45A hospital order.

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Vladimir Ivanov used a kitchen knife on Glyn Rouse in an unprovoked attack in broad daylight in Crawley.

The incident occurred on a footpath close to the playground in Cherry Lane shortly before 10.30am on Tuesday 28 November, 2017.

The 61-year-old victim, who lived in nearby Rushetts Place, was discovered by passers-by with serious wounds to his neck, head, chest and left arm. Despite the best efforts of emergency services, he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Ivanov, 23, a warehouseman, of Juniper Road, Crawley, was arrested in the area shortly afterwards by officers who were on route to assist. He was covered in blood and had a wound to his left hand, believed to have been sustained during the attack.

During police interview, he told officers he took a knife from his home and placed it in his jacket pocket as he went jogging in Cherry Lane that morning.

There were a number of other people in the area at the time, including Mr Rouse. However, without any prior interaction with anyone, Ivanov attacked Mr Rouse. When questioned by police he said “something in my mind told me to do this”.

He added that he did not know what his intention was for taking the knife, but said that it was not normal for him to do this.

The two men were not previously known to each other.

Ivanov was subsequently charged with murder and remanded in custody. He underwent assessments by four psychiatrists working on behalf of the defence and prosecution in the intervening period, and the results of those assessments – that he was fit to stand trial – led to the murder trial.

However, during the trial, there were fresh concerns over Ivanov’s mental health. He was reassessed by the same psychiatrists, at the request of the judge, and they came to the same conclusion that on the balance of probabilities, it was more likely than not that he was suffering from such mental illness at the time of the attack and that he had a defence to murder of diminished responsibility.

On that basis, the prosecution withdrew the murder indictment and accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was subsequently convicted and the jury was dismissed on Friday 9 November, 2018.

The defendant had no diagnosed mental health issues previously – either in the UK or in his native Bulgaria.

Following conviction, he was subject of an interim hospital order for the purpose of further assessing him for sentencing.

Ivanov appeared at Lewes Crown Court, sitting at Brighton, on Wednesday (27 March), where he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum four year term as result of his early guilty plea. However, he was also made the subject of a Section 45A hospital order requiring him to remain indefinitely alongside his sentence. He cannot be released from that order without the authority of the Secretary of State and the parole board.

The findings of these further assessments were presented in court by Dr Ley.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Ashcroft, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who led the investigation, said:

“I would like to extend my sympathies to the victim’s family and friends. Mr Rouse had been out walking and minding his own business that morning when he was subjected to an unbelievable, highly unusual, unprovoked attack. Tragically, the wounds he sustained proved to be fatal and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Ivanov fled the scene of his crime and was witnessed making attempts to flag down a number of passing motorists in the area before he was arrested shortly afterwards.

“His motive for killing an innocent man remains unknown. It appears to be borne from the mental state of Ivanov at that time.

“Ivanov only moved to the UK from Bulgaria a couple of months previously, and he appeared to be settled at an address in Crawley and was employed with a local delivery firm.”

Mr Rouse’s family issued the following tribute:

“Glyn was an extremely talented man who loved the arts, he was extremely dedicated to his music and excelled at guitar playing. His music brightened and improved a lot of people’s lives, and all of his family and friends will remember Glyn when they hear a guitar being played well.

“Glyn was dedicated to his art and spent a lot of time carrying out this hobby, his amazing talent at art shines through when you look at his numerous paintings and sketches, and it was obvious that he was a very talented, precise and expressive person.

“Glyn was a very private man and preferred to keep himself to himself, and did not like to burden friends or family about any problems he may have had. He preferred just to sort things out himself and get on with his life.

“It was always a pleasure to see Glyn attending the occasional family event, whether they were happy events or sad events, and he was always chatty and upbeat and a pleasure to be around. The family as a whole respected Glyn’s wishes to be a very private person but we always knew that he would be available in a crisis if needed.

“After Glyn’s untimely death it has been discovered that he did indeed have a large group of friends in and around the Crawley area, and the family realised that all his friends are also connected to Glyn’s hobbies as in music and art, and they all share our grief in the sudden and tragic loss of our beloved Glyn.

“We ask friends and family of Glyn to remember him in their prayers, and also kindly request people to respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time for us.”

Crime

Teenager found guilty of murdering Arnold Potter named

A teenager who stabbed and killed a man in Maidenbower, Crawley has been found guilty of murder.

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Kai Gasson, 17, unemployed, from Crawley, admitted using a lock knife to wound the torso of Arnold Potter; however, he claimed he did so in self-defence.

Reporting restrictions were lifted to allow him to be named.

The 24-year-old victim sought help from a number of residents following the incident in Watson Close, Maidenbower, around 6.40pm on Thursday, November 15.

Shortly afterwards, he was found collapsed in the street. Despite the best efforts of paramedics and members of the public who commenced CPR, he was sadly declared dead at 7.17pm.

Gasson had chased Arnold (pictured above) up the street following the attack, but then made off from the scene and spent the night at a friend’s house, where he confessed to his crime and was encouraged to hand himself in to police the next day.

Man is stabbed to death in Maidenbower.

He was charged with murder and was remanded in custody ahead of a two-week trial which concluded at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday, April 18 where a jury found him guilty of murder.

It is alleged that in the events leading up to the attack, the defendant had been approached in the street by Arnold, who is reported to have held a knife to his throat and threatened to rob him of his drugs.

In response to this, Gasson withdrew a knife from his bag and used it to stab Arnold.

Following a search of his house, the defendant was further arrested and charged with possession of an offensive weapon (a knife). The jury also found him guilty of this offence as well as possession with intent to supply a class A drug (cocaine).

Photo: A replica of the knife used by Gasson

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson, who led the investigation, said: “Kai Gasson has been found guilty of the murder of Arnold Potter and rightly so now faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

“The jury has rejected his claim that he acted in self-defence and agreed with the prosecution that he murdered Arnold Potter.

“Gasson was also been found guilty of possession of a knife and pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine.

“Knife crime hasn’t just affected the two individuals involved; it has also affected their families, friends and the wider community and my thoughts our especially with Arnold’s family at this time.

“The key element to this tragic incident is the possession of a knife in a public place, which is an extremely serious offence.

“Had Gasson not been in possession of a knife that day, he would not have stabbed anyone and he would not now be facing a sentence.

“The devastation caused by knife crime is well documented, and Sussex Police – like every other force in the UK – will not tolerate it.

“We must continue to educate people – particularly young people – that carrying offensive weapons in public is a serious offence which ruins lives. It is a common misconception that some people feel safer in possession with a knife. This cannot be further from the truth; carrying a knife makes you far more likely to be involved in a crime, whether you are the victim or the offender.

“Our message is simple: lose the knife, not your life.”

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