Bournemouth man Jamie Frank Higgs, aged 19, was convicted on 5 August 2020 of the manslaughter of Kai Archer following a 12-day trial at Winchester Crown Court. He was sentenced at the same court on 29 September to an eight-year jail term and was told he would have to serve an additional three years on licence due to the danger he poses to the public.
During the evening of 16 November 2019, Kai was at his home address socialising with Higgs and a teenage girl. During this time Kai arranged to meet a teenage boy and it was agreed that Higgs and the girl would accompany him.
Just before 10pm the group left Kai’s home address and walked along St Swithun’s Road toward the junction with Knyveton Road. Higgs appeared agitated before leaving and asked if he was being set up.
As they were walking, Higgs struck Kai to the back of the head with a WKD bottle, which he then discarded and was later recovered by officers.
Shortly afterwards the group met up with the boy, who was in the company of a male friend, outside Bournemouth Pizza Company. Kai made the comment “he bottled me” and an altercation then occurred between him and Higgs.
During the incident, witnesses described seeing Higgs jabbing at Kai.
Kai fell sideways onto a car and slipped onto the floor while bleeding heavily from his abdomen.
At 10.10pm Dorset Police was called to a report of a stabbing. Officers attended, assisted by the ambulance service, and Kai was taken to hospital. He was very sadly pronounced dead a short time later.
A post-mortem examination was carried out and revealed that Kai died as a result of three stab wounds to the left side of his chest and abdomen.
Following extensive searches and enquiries, officers arrested Higgs at 5.40am on 17 November 2019.
Clothing that Higgs was wearing on the night was seized and found to have blood on it that provided a DNA match to Kai Archer.
During the trial, Higgs told the jury he was acting in self-defence and was protecting himself as he believed he was being set up by Kai.
The jury concluded that Higgs did not intend to kill Kai, but he used violence that was unlawful and not reasonable.
During sentencing the court was told that Higgs was 18 at the time of the offence and has previous convictions for assault, battery and three offences in which he used knives to threaten others.
Nadine Radford QC, representing Higgs, told the court that the events of the stabbing unfolded in 20 seconds and Higgs reacted to having three people marching toward him.
Sentencing, Mrs Justice Jennifer Eady said, “No sentence I impose today can ease the sentence Kai’s family face at their loss.”
A statement issued on behalf of Kai’s mum said, “My beloved Kai, my son, my baby boy and loyal brother and loving nephew, a great cousin and forever friend. Kai was taken so young and way before time. I always believed in my son and I know the best was yet to come, which is one of the hardest things to accept.
“You will always be remembered for your many attributes, in particular your amazing smile and looks, your wit and cheeky charm, your energy and passion. Kai was bright and articulate and had the world at his feet.
“May my son be loved and remembered for his life and as a family we would appreciate if we could now be given some space to come to terms with our grief and the outcome of the court’s decision.”
Detective Inspector Rich Dixey, of MCIT, said, “This was a tragic incident resulting in the sad death of Kai Archer. Higgs armed himself with a knife on the night of the assault, which led to devastating consequences.
“Our thoughts continue to remain with Kai’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time and I hope that Higgs’ imprisonment today will assist in providing some closure for them.”
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