Haywards Heath murder trial: Attackers ‘acted like a pack of dogs’

Two men acted like a pack of dogs when they allegedly murdered another man in a row over drugs, a court heard.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 4:13 pm

James ‘Jimmy’ Fitzgerald, 29, died after suffering multiple knife wounds during a fight in Haywards Heath just before Christmas last year.

Craig Ghochani, 28, unemployed of Barn Cottage Lane, Haywards Heath, and James Creaghan, 28, of no fixed address, are charged with murder and possession with an offensive weapon. The pair both deny murder.

Lewes Crown Court heard today (September 16), that one of Mr Fitzgerald’s attackers shouted: “That’s what you get,” as he stabbed him several times in the back. He died 40 minutes later from a heart attack caused by internal bleeding.

Craig Ghochani outside Lewes Crown Court today

The three men fought before Mr Fitzgerald raised a bicycle above his head as if to throw it at his attackers car, shouting: “Come back here and fight like a man.”

Creaghan and Ghochani got out of the car and ran at Mr Fitzgerald like pack dogs, the court heard.

Eloise Marshall, QC for the Crown, said: “A witness said they both got out of the car and went for him like pack dogs.

“Kicking and punching him while he was down.”

James 'Jimmy' Fitzgerald died in an ambulance on his way to hospital after being stabbed

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Ghochani plunged the knife into his back several times on December 21, last year, the court heard.

“The wounds tracked downwards in a stabbing motion,” Miss Marshall said.

“Ghochani was shouting; ‘Why have you tooken (sic) my gear? It is blatantly obvious you have tooken my gear’.

James 'Jimmy' Fitzgerald. Image provided via Sussex Police.

“Jimmy is saying ‘Why are you doing this to me?’”

Miss Marshall said phone records showed all three men were building up to a confrontation between them over a stolen drugs stash.

Creaghan shared a flat with Mr Fitzgerald and all three men were known to each other, the court heard.

The trio met outside a house at Barn Cottage Lane, Haywards Heath, where Mr Ghochani was living with his mother.

James 'Jimmy' Fitzgerald

Mr Fitzgerald suffered a heart attack and died in the back of an ambulance on his way to hospital.

Creaghan and Ghochani were arrested separately the following day at different locations in Brighton.

The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.

James 'Jimmy' Fitzgerald