A MAN who fatally stabbed 20-year-old Kai Archer in Bournemouth has been jailed for eight years – with an extended period on licence of three years.

In sentencing Jamie Frank Higgs, who was found unanimously guilty of Mr Archer’s manslaughter, a judge said the killer posed a significant risk of serious harm to other members of the public.

Higgs, aged 19 and of Windsor Road, Bournemouth, stabbed his victim three times during an altercation outside Bournemouth Pizza Co in St Swithun’s Road on the evening of November 16, 2019.

Bournemouth Echo: Jamie Frank Higgs, aged 19 and of Windsor Road, BournemouthJamie Frank Higgs, aged 19 and of Windsor Road, Bournemouth

Mr Archer, who lived nearby, was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment but died a short time later.

The defendant was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter following a trial at Winchester Crown Court last month.

At a sentencing hearing at the same court this afternoon, Judge Jennifer Eady DBE said: “No sentence I impose today can ease the sentence Kai’s family face as a result of their loss – I can only commend them for the dignity they have shown in attending these court proceedings.”

The court heard Higgs had previous convictions for assault, battery and criminal damage, with some of his offending including threats with knives.

Higgs and Mr Archer had at one time been friends, prosecutor Kerry Maylin said.
Mitigating Nadine Radford QC said the defendant had an “appalling upbringing”.

During her first meeting with Higgs earlier this year, she told the court he said: “I can’t believe I have taken somebody else’s life.

“I feel so responsible.”

Mrs Radford QC said Higgs had taken a “massive step” to overcoming his drug problem while remanded in custody and he was working as a cleaner and in catering at the prison.

The defendant told the jury during the trial he was acting in self-defence and was protecting himself as he believed Mr Archer and his associates were going to rob him.

Bournemouth Echo: Kai Archer was killed in November last yearKai Archer was killed in November last year

Higgs said the stabbing was accidental but Judge Eady said the evidence in the case did not support this claim.

The judge said Higgs used the knife as a threat to ward off a potential attack.

“In the altercation that followed, the first punches may have been thrown by Kai, but you struck him three times with the knife,” the judge added.

She told Higgs he would have to serve five years and four months behind bars before he could be considered for release.

The events that led to Mr Archer's death took place on the evening of November 16.

Mr Archer was at his home address socialising with Higgs and a teenage girl. During this time Mr Archer arranged to meet a teenage boy and it was agreed that Higgs and the girl would accompany him.

Just before 10pm the group left his 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 Mr Archer 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, outside Bournemouth Pizza Company. Mr Archer said “he bottled me” and an altercation then occurred between him and Higgs.

During the incident, witnesses described seeing Higgs jabbing at Mr Archer, who fell sideways onto a car and slipped onto the floor while bleeding heavily from his abdomen.

Dorset Police was called at 10.10pm to a report of a stabbing. Officers attended, assisted by the ambulance service, and Mr Archer was taken to hospital. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

A post-mortem examination was carried out and revealed he died as a result of three stab wounds to the left side of his chest and abdomen. A full investigation was launched led by detectives from Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team.

Following extensive searches and enquiries, at around 5.40am the day after Mr Archer's death, officers arrested Higgs.

Clothing that Higgs was wearing on the night was seized and found to have blood on it that provided a DNA match to Mr 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.

The jury concluded that Higgs did not intend to kill Mr Archer, but he used violence that was unlawful and not reasonable.