Specialist detectives have secured justice for the family of a ‘loving and devoted father’ after his killer was convicted.
Thirty-five year-old Craig North was found seriously injured in Feenan Highway shortly before 9.45pm on 2 January last year.
He was taken to hospital but, sadly, he died there nine days later.
In a tribute following his death his family said: “Craig was our hero. He was a loving and devoted father, partner, son, brother, uncle, son in law and friend.
“He was loved by so many.
“He will always be in our hearts and never forgotten. You are our warrior.”
Craig had been taken to hospital after being found by four members of the public with a stab wound to his chest.
About two hours after the Craig had been found injured, we received a call from a relative of 20 year-old Darnel Curtin reporting he had stabbed someone.
Officers attended his address in Chesterton Way, Tilbury and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder.
Door bell footage from his home address showed him leaving his property shortly after 9.05pm on his scooter.
He was captured returning at 9.40pm without his scooter but then leaving again seven minutes later in possession of a rucksack.
When he returned at 9.52pm he no longer had the bag.
Officers carried out a search of the area to locate the bag which was found in bushes at the side of a field behind Brennan Road.
Inside were clothes and trainers, and underneath was a large hunting-style knife which had visible blood stains on the blade.
When these were forensically analysed, it was established the knife had Curtin’s DNA on it and the blade had Craig’s blood on it.
Curtin was initially charged with attempted murder but following Craig’s death, that charged was upgraded to one of murder.
He denied the charge but, following a trial at Basildon Crown Court, was found guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
He’s due to be sentenced at the same court on 31 January.
“Always in our hearts”
Following the trial, Craig’s parents said:
“No result will ever bring back Craig to his family, Craig was our hero.
“He was a loving and devoted father, partner, son, brother, uncle, son in law and friend.
“He was loved by so many. He will always be in our hearts and never forgotten. You are our warrior.
“We will continue to remember him and his heroic actions”.
Senior investigating officer Julie Gowen said:
“Craig’s death was a needless tragedy which has robbed his family of a much-loved man.
“I want to praise their courage and dignity throughout the investigation and the painful ordeal of a trial.
“No conviction will ever bring Craig back, but I hope this will help them to move forward.”