‘Coercive’ man and friend jailed for life over murder of ex-girlfriend’s lover

A “coercive and controlling” man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s new lover to death in her bed, and his friend who encouraged the attack, have been jailed for life.

Judge Jeremy Gold KC sentenced Kaydon Prior and Jason Curtis at Brighton Crown Court to serve a minimum of 28 years and 22 years respectively for the murder of Harrison Tomkins as he lay in bed.

Prior, 23, and Curtis, 22, had stormed into Alicia Parrin’s flat in Crawley after hearing she had been out with another man.

Prior then leapt onto Mr Tomkins, 25, and stabbed him 10 times in the chest, legs and back with a hunting knife in a “brutal and frenzied” attack at around 5.30am on August 13 2023.

Judge Gold said Curtis “played a full part” in the lead-up to this “dreadful crime” by assisting Prior.

They were both found guilty of Mr Tomkins’ murder in unanimous verdicts following a trial at Chichester Crown Court.

Sentencing the pair on Tuesday, Judge Gold said: “This was a carefully planned and executed killing of a young man who neither of you knew or had any sensible reason to want to hurt, let alone kill.

“This brutal murder was born out of utter obsession by you, Kaydon Prior, with Alicia Parrin. She was understandably exhausted by your increasingly coercive and controlling behaviour over the last few weeks of your relationship.

“She made it clear to you she no longer put up with it, you could not and would not accept that simple fact.”

Of Mr Tomkins, the judge added: “This court has heard moving victim impact statements from his parents and other family members who are all devastated at the loss of this young man who was so full of potential.

“He was variously described as kind, gentle, charitable, and his loss is understandably said by his family to have left an emptiness that can never be filled.”

Prior and Curtis were also both found guilty of having an offensive weapon, and Prior was found guilty of assault by beating of Ms Parrin.

The trial had heard how the pair were on a night out for Curtis’ birthday in Chelsea, London, before they travelled to Ms Parrin’s address in Arthur Road, Ifield, in the early hours of the morning.

Harrison Tomkins death
Kaydon Prior and Jason Curtis (Handout/PA)

The court heard Prior had then returned to his own home to collect a key to Ms Parrin’s flat, and the knife, before heading back to her flat, and Curtis helped him re-gain entry to the building.

Prosecutor Alan Gardner KC had said: “Harrison Tomkins had no chance. The sudden onslaught was completely unexpected.

“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.

Giving a victim impact statement in court, Ms Parrin said she regretted the day she met Prior and will never be able to recover from the trauma of the attack on “totally innocent” Mr Tomkins.

“I can not unsee what happened that night. Everything was in slow motion and I felt weak,” the 20-year-old said.

“I used to use sleep as a way of getting out of scary situations. As soon as I close my eyes I see him coming into my room and doing the unthinkable again.”

She added: “One of the worst parts is, Kaydon would probably take pleasure in how he has pulled my life apart.

“I will never be able to leave behind the fear he instilled in me.

“Even if I hear keys in a door, I’m immediately on edge and thrown into a panic.”

Members of Mr Tomkins’ family also read their statements in court.

His mother Natasha Tomkins described him as a “brave, adventurous and generous” man who was a “lover of life” and saw the best in everyone.

She said their amazing family, “complete and content”, was destroyed on the day of Mr Tomkins’ death.

Ms Tomkins said: “This targeted attack was so futile. We were robbed of the future of our son.

“The physical pain I experience every day is indescribable.

“I truly feel my heart is breaking.”

Harrison Tomkins death
Harrison Tomkins may have been asleep when the attack began, the court heard (Handout/PA)

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.

The court heard how Ms Parrin sent messages to Prior on the day before the murder saying “go f*** yourself don’t ever contact me again”, but he still believed they were in a relationship.

Ms Parrin and Mr Tomkins, a lifeguard, 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 and there was a man with her.

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”.

Ms Parrin had told the court 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.

Prior, of Hazelwick Avenue, Three Bridges, and Curtis, of Lairdale Road in Lambeth, south London, both have served 252 days in custody and denied charges of murder and manslaughter of Mr Tomkins.