Homeless man sentenced for killing Russian in Eastbourne

Mark Watson
Image caption Mark Watson stabbed Mr Sokolnikov inside the flat in Ceylon Place

A 49-year-old has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a fellow homeless man in a fight in East Sussex.

Mark Watson, of no fixed address, stabbed Russian national Alexandre Sokolnikov at a flat in Ceylon Place, Eastbourne, on 21 February last year.

Mr Sokolnikov was found on the pavement with a single stab wound to the heart and died after arriving at hospital.

Watson, who was convicted at Lewes Crown Court, was told he will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Mr Sokolnikov came to the UK 10 years ago and worked on and off in Eastbourne before he began living on the streets.

His 20-year-old daughter and elderly mother live in Siberia and were unable to come to the trial.

In a statement released by Sussex Police they said: "Alexandre was a much-loved father and son, who went to live in the UK to make a better life for himself and family.

"We are so very sad that his life ended in this way but are pleased that justice has been served.

"I would like to thank Sussex Police for their help and support in getting justice for Alexandre. He will be sorely missed."

'Spiteful and jealous'

After the fight Watson was found inside the flat with serious head injuries.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital for treatment and placed under police guard.

Det Ch Insp Nick May, who lead the investigation, said he was pleased that justice had been served against a "dangerous" man.

"He has shown no remorse or concern for the consequences of his actions throughout his trial and refused to take responsibility for the death of Alexandre Sokolnikov," he said.

"Watson was a spiteful and jealous man and had little regard for the value of his victim's life.

"I would like to thank our key witness who showed immense courage in taking the stand and testifying against Watson."

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