COUNTY NEWS: Christmas day killer jailed for life

Oliver John Parsons, 31, appeared in Lewes Crown Court via video link from Lewes Prison today (Tuesday, November 3) to be sentenced for the murder of Rustington man Joe Lewis, 24.

Oliver Parsons
Oliver Parsons

Mr Parsons, of no fixed address, was given a life sentence of 16 years by Judge Barnes this afternoon with the victim’s family present.

In the early hours of Christmas day 2014, Mr Parsons admitted to stabbing Mr Lewis in the chest following an altercation at Warwick Mount, Montague Street, Brighton.

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Three men at the address, including flat owner Mateusz Witczak, consumed 18 cans of lager, a bottle of vodka and whiskey between them, along with a legal high at the time, Euphoria.

Defence Iain Marley said: “By the early hours of Christmas day all three men were under the significant influence of alcohol and drugs.

“Euphoria stimulates the production of dopamine which is what makes us happy and in large quantities it causes over the top crazy happiness and over stimulates the nervous system, and people act out of character.

“The tragic event which unfolded in a matter of seconds in a happy gathering of friends wouldn’t have happened if not for the consumption of the drug.”

Mr Marley said following the consumption of Euphoria, Mr Witczak told police that Mr Lewis became very loud. Concerned about the neighbours, he asked him to be quiet; this led to an altercation between Mr Parsons and Mr Lewis.

Mr Parsons stabbed Mr Lewis between two ribs and penetrated his heart, damaging a ventricle.

Prosecutor Richard Barton showed 40 minutes of shocking video footage, filmed by Officer Steven Matthews, of Mr Parsons in the police car being transported to Hollingbury Police Station.

In the footage Mr Parsons could clearly be heard saying: “All I’m concerned about is my own welfare, I don’t care about him.

“If he dies I don’t care.”

The video link with Mr Parsons was cut before the footage was played because Mr Marley said the defendant was too embarrassed to hear it.

After seeing the footage, Judge Barnes said: “This was a drunken, drugged, silly argument.

“You have been to the courts over so many reasons – 34 convictions for 55 offences.

“This was a disaster waiting to happen by you.”

Mr Parsons was sentenced to 16 years. He will be considered for parole once all 16 years have been served.

After the sentence, Mr Lewis’ aunt Tarnya Ticehurst said: “This man and my nephew were NOT friends and had only met a couple of days prior to this incident.

“The whole family feel completely let down by the justice system as this person had a string of very serious previous convictions and was clearly a danger to the public.

“If Oliver Parsons had been dealt with in the correct manner beforehand, Joe would still be alive and well and able to celebrate Christmas with his family.”

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