A man has been convicted of manslaughter following a fatal stabbing in St Leonards.
Today (Tuesday, January 2) Mohammed Ahmed was sentenced to 12 years in jail for the attack which occurred in Clyde Road on July 27, 2017.
Police said at about 12.41pm that day, he used a knife to twice stab Salvis Auzins following a disagreement over the return of a set of keys.
The pair had a pre-arranged meeting earlier that day, during which Mr Auzins bought drugs from Ahmed.
But during the second meeting there was a disagreement which resulted in a confrontation in the middle of the street.
Following this, Ahmed took a knife from his vehicle and stabbed Mr Auzins in the chest.
The 37-year-old Latvian victim, who was unemployed, managed to drive himself towards his home address in nearby Wishing Tree Road, but was discovered seriously injured in an adjacent alleyway in Wishing Tree Road, opposite Squirrel Close, a short time later. He had called the emergency services himself.
Despite the best efforts of police and paramedics, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ahmed, 21, of no fixed address, was arrested in Clyde Road, and subsequently charged with murder and two counts of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug – cocaine and heroin.
He claimed he acted in self-defence, stating Mr Auzins was in possession of a dog (a German Shepherd) and a tyre iron.
However, at the crown court today, Ahmed pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, which the Crown Prosecution Service accepted.
He was sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter and three years for each count of possession with intent to supply a Class A drug, to run concurrently.
Ahmed was informed he must serve a minimum term of at least six years in prison before he can be considered for release, including time already spent on remand.
Detective Chief Inspector Emma Heater, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “It appears the defendant Ahmed left a set of keys behind following his first meeting with Mr Auzins, and when the pair met for a second time to exchange the keys there was a disagreement which resulted in a violent attack in a busy residential street in broad daylight.
“Ahmed expressed throughout that he acted in self-defence. Whatever the circumstances, his actions that day ultimately resulted in the death of a man. We have spoken to Mr Auzins’ parents in Latvia and they are understandably devastated at the loss of their son.
“This case highlights the real dangers of any involvement with illicit drugs, and that those involved in the supply of such drugs may resort to violence.
“We would like to thank everyone, including a number of key witnesses, for their assistance in our investigation. With their help, justice has been served and a violent criminal has been removed from the streets of Sussex.”