A teenager who stabbed and killed a man in Crawley has been found guilty of murder.
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.
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).
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.
Photo: A replica of the knife used by Gasson
"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."
Author: Sam Satchell
Arnold, our son, brother, uncle and friend, was a loving, caring and kind hearted man. He was loved by so many and had his whole life ahead of him but taken way too soon. We will all miss him so much.
We will remember Arnold for the man he was maturing into. He was focusing on his health and going to the gym every day.
Arnold had an interest in the medical benefits of herbal tea – something we are keen to pursue in the memory of Arnold.
Arnold would walk through the community, smiling and saying ‘hello’ with dignity and respect. The amount of positive stories we as a family have heard since Arnold’s brutal death has warmed our hearts.
The head teacher of Oriel High School in Maidenbower had fond memories of Arnold’s character.
Arnold’s life was tragically taken because of knife crime. Arnold wanted to live a long life, which has been taken from him.
“Please educate your children about knife crime, as it impacts every member of your family.
“Life goes on, but life will never be the same again for us.
“As a family, we love you and your memory will live on. Thank you for the feathers. RIP Arnold.”