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8 October 2019

News and appeals

Man sentenced to life for the murder of Haywards Heath man

A man has been sentenced for the murder of James "Jimmy" Fitzgerald.
Craig Ghochani, 29, has found guilty by a jury at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (September 30).
Sussex Police launched a murder investigation on Friday, December 21 following a fatal stabbing in Haywards Heath.
Jimmy, 29, had been on his bike along Barn Cottage Lane at the junction of Bentswood Crescent around 8.20pm when he was assaulted. He was taken to hospital but while he was on route, sadly Jimmy died.
Officers conducted a number of enquiries and a total of five arrests were conducted in connection with the murder investigation, three of which were later released without any further action.
Ghochani, unemployed of Barn Cottage Lane, and James Creaghan, 28, of not fixed address, were both charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
The pair pleaded not guilty to both charges and stood trial at Lewes Crown Court, which concluded on Monday (September 30).
Creaghan was acquitted by the jury on both charges but Ghochani found guilty for both offences.
Ghochani was sentenced by HH Judge Laing to life with a minimum of 22 years and will remain on licence for life and a further six-month custodial sentence to run concurrently for the possession of a bladed article. Read more here.

Man who bit police officer is convicted in court

A man who bit a police officer after being arrested for shouting racial abuse on a plane has been convicted in court.
Officers responded to reports of a disruptive passenger on the easyJet flight inbound from Faro to Gatwick Airport on 18 May.
Having been asked to sit down and put his seatbelt on as the aircraft prepared to land, the defendant became aggressive towards cabin crew. He also used a number of expletives, of which some were racially aggravated.
Police attended the aircraft as it came to a standstill and the defendant was identified as Kieran Croxley, 44, a labourer, of Howell Walk, Southwark, London.
The officers asked him to follow them, at which point he again became abusive and started swearing. As they attempted to arrest him, Croxley bit one officer’s hand and dug his nails into the arm of another, causing the skin to break. And while being transported into custody, he attempted to bite a third officer.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with using racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards aircraft crew; and three counts of assault on an emergency worker.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 26 September, Croxley pleaded guilty to all five offences.
He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay a £900 fine, £450 costs and a total of £325 in compensation to the officers he assaulted.
Croxley was arrested as part of Project Disrupt – an annual campaign run by Sussex Police to combat drunken and disruptive behaviour.
You can find out more about the operation here.
Inspector James Biggs, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said: “This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. No member of aircraft crew, nor their passengers, should have to experience such abuse. Nor should any emergency worker expect to be assaulted for simply carrying out their duties.
“This case should serve as a reminder to passengers of their responsibilities before they board an aircraft. Incidents of drunken and disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly.”

Surrey and Sussex Police Fraud Newsletter October 2019. Identities stolen to order mobile phones

An elderly man from East Surrey received a knock on the door from a delivery driver with a mobile phone in his name which he had not ordered. The man took the parcel in to inspect and then received a call saying that the phone had been delivered to the wrong address and someone would come to collect it.
Quite rightly suspicious, the gentleman called the police and it became clear his identity had been used by criminals to buy the phone. We have seen this type of fraud in both of our counties, with victims’ identities being used to buy goods and their addresses used for delivery. There’s some really comprehensive advice on avoiding becoming a victim of identity theft on Action Fraud’s website here, or search ‘identity theft Action Fraud.’

Please see our full Surrey and Sussex Police Fraud Newsletter October 2019 here.


Help us keep Sussex safe

If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org


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Message sent by
Anna Habdas (Police, Prevention Support and Engagement Officer, Sussex)

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