A man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s new lover to death in her bed, and his friend who encouraged the attack, have both been found guilty of murder.
Kaydon Prior knifed Harrison Tomkins, 25, in the chest, legs and back with a hunting knife in a “brutal and frenzied” attack in Crawley, on August 13 2023.
His friend Jason Curtis, 22, encouraged and assisted Prior in the murder.
During a trial at Chichester Crown Court, jurors heard Prior, 23, was a “jealous and controlling” man who stormed into Alicia Parrin’s flat with Curtis, after hearing she had been out with another man.
Prior was on a night out with Curtis for his birthday in London, before the pair travelled to Ms Parrin’s address in Arthur Road, Ifield, at around 5.30am.
Prior and Curtis were found guilty of Mr Tomkins’ murder in unanimous verdicts.
“He may well have been asleep when the defendant burst into the bedroom.”
Jurors heard how Prior dropped the knife in the bedroom, punched Ms Parrin, and walked out of the building where he rejoined Curtis, telling him to burn his clothes as they escaped.
Curtis was hiding in bushes nearby when police arrested him, while Prior was found by officers later that morning in his flat with a bag of clothes stained with Mr Tomkins’ blood.
Prior claimed that the hunting knife, which he owned, was already in Ms Parrin’s flat and used for DIY and cooking.
But the prosecution said that when he travelled back to his own flat for the spare key to Ms Parrin’s home, he also brought the knife with him.
The trial heard how Prior and Ms Parrin had been in a relationship and had been living together in Prior’s flat in Three Bridges from around March 2023.
Ms Parrin alleged Prior was violent and jealous in their relationship, and had told her on one occasion that he would kill her if she was ever with somebody else.
In another instance, Ms Parrin said Prior would sing a song to her with the lyric: “I wouldn’t let you be with anybody else,” which Prior denied.
In July 2023, Ms Parrin got her own flat in Arthur Road, in a “step towards” breaking up with Prior, and on August 11, she told him their relationship was over.
Ms Parrin and Mr Tomkins had got to know each other by working at the K2 leisure centre, and things had got “flirtier” between them in the weeks leading up to August 12, when the pair decided to meet at a work colleague’s leaving do.
They were spotted at a pub and club in Crawley town centre by a mutual connection, Ella Stanford, who messaged Curtis on Snapchat that Ms Parrin was out with friends.
Curtis replied: “Kaydon says to keep an eye out for her and see what she is doing.”
Jurors heard that Prior was also sent a video of Ms Parrin, kissing another man in a club that night and he messaged her saying: “Letting guys kiss you and that… that’s absolutely wrong… I can literally see you.”
The prosecution said Prior intended to go to Ms Parrin’s flat to catch her red-handed with another man, but Prior claimed he went to her home at around 5am because he “didn’t like sleeping on arguments”.
He said Mr Tomkins had jumped out of bed and a fight broke out between them, with them both reaching for the knife.
However Ms Parrin told the court the 25-year-old lifeguard did not attack Prior, and that at first she believed Prior was punching Mr Tomkins, but then she realised he had been stabbing him and there was “blood everywhere”.
Curtis did not give evidence during the trial, but the prosecution said Curtis “assisted and encouraged” Prior in his “murderous enterprise” including following Prior into the bedroom where he watched the knife attack.
Jurors heard how Ms Parrin told police officers after the murder “it’s all my fault”, and asked about this in court, she said: “Because if Harrison wasn’t with me he wouldn’t be dead.”
Prior, of Hazelwick Avenue, Three Bridges, and Curtis, of Lairdale Road in Lambeth, south London, both denied charges of murder and manslaughter of Mr Tomkins.
The pair were also both found guilty of having an offensive weapon, and Prior was found guilty of assault by beating of Ms Parrin.
After the conviction, Mr Tomkins’ family said he was a “lover of life” who saw the best in everyone he met.
In a statement from Sussex Police, they said: “Harrison was innocent in all of this, taken by surprise and killed as he laid in bed, with no time to defend himself.
“We knew our son and he didn’t move in any of these circles or know this way of life.
“We were an amazing family, completely content, loving, supportive and protective. Except in August last year our family was destroyed that fateful day – the day I could not protect my son.”
His family added: “Nothing said or done can help justify this senseless loss of life.
“Since the omission of any remorse and that my son was murdered whilst asleep, my only hope is they serve the maximum sentence possible.”
Prior and Curtis will be sentenced on April 23 at Hove Crown Court.