Vladimir Ivanov used a kitchen knife to stab Glyn Rouse in an unprovoked attack in broad daylight.
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 was subject to assessments by psychiatrists working on behalf of the defence and prosecution in the intervening period. The results of the those assessments 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 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 by diminished responsibility.
On that basis, the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and the trial concluded on Friday (9 November).
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 who was unknown appears to be borne from the mental state of the offender. 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.”
Ivanov will be sentenced at the same court, provisionally on Friday 1 February 2019, following reports on the treatment and assessment of him.
Appeal for help after five masked robbers force way into home in Crawley
Detectives in Crawley are seeking information about a violent attack at a home in Pound Hill.
At 3,30pm on Thursday 22 November the occupants of the house in Punch Copse Road, answered the door, and were confronted with five men with their faces covered who threatened the occupants and forced their way into the house.
They stole a quantity of cash and a box containing some cutlery before leaving the address and making off in a car which was parked nearby.
All the suspects are described as black, and were wearing dark coloured clothing.
One of the occupants, a 37-year old woman, was knocked to the floor during the attack and sustained bruising and a shoulder injury for which she was treated at East Surrey Hospital.
Detective Constable Mark Buckley said;
“We have been making extensive local enquiries and are still seeking witnesses who were in the area that afternoon, particularly around Punch Copse Road or surrounding roads, and including anyone who was using dashcam in their own car at the time.”
If you have any information please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting serial 904 of 22/11.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.