Darren Alderton, 51, was found dead inside his flat in Magdalen Road on Thursday 8 April, 2021 after police received calls concerned for his welfare.
The death was deemed suspicious and a murder investigation was launched. On Monday 12 April, Seyed Iman Tabarhosseini was arrested in London on suspicion of Darren’s murder.
Tabarhosseini, 38, unemployed, of Folkestone Road in Dover, was charged and stood trial at Lewes Crown Court. On Thursday (November 25) after an 11-day trial, he was found guilty of the murder of Darren Alderton by a unanimous jury.
At the same court on Friday (November 26), he was sentenced to a minimum tariff of 30 years.
The initial investigation
Following the discovery of Darren’s body in his home, officers launched a major investigation and began conducting a number of fast-time enquiries.
An initial search of the property found smears of blood near an access to a loft in the victim’s kitchen. Inside the loft, a piece of stone was found which also had some red staining on. This was later confirmed to be blood belonging to the victim.
A post mortem examination found the victim died of blunt force trauma to the head, with lacerations consistent with multiple blows by a heavy object. It was confirmed the fatal injuries were caused by the stone found in the victim’s loft.
As there were no signs of forced entry at the property, it was thought the suspect was someone known to the victim. An examination of Darren’s phone found the last two phone calls were to the same number, on the morning of Tuesday 6 April.
Darren also kept CCTV inside his home, and that showed a man entering the property with Darren at 9.42am on the morning of April 6 – just minutes after the phone calls were made.
The man is next seen on CCTV at 12.18pm with blood on his clothing, wearing latex gloves and carrying the stone later found in the loft. He searches through drawers and looks under the bed before leaving the room.
The suspect is then seen on camera wearing different clothing and eventually leaves the property at 12.48pm carrying a dark rucksack and a camouflage coloured bag for life.
Identifying the suspect
Enquiries around the number found on Darren’s phone nominated Tabarhosseini as a suspect. A photo of Tabarhosseini also matched the appearance of the man seen on CCTV, including a distinctive tattoo on the left side of his neck.
Officers began looking into Tabarhosseini’s movements around the time of Darren’s death and through extensive CCTV trawls, were able to piece together a comprehensive timeline:
– Tabarhosseini is seen leaving his home address in Dover around 3.30pm on Monday 5 April. He is wearing clothing and carrying a camouflage bag that matches those seen on CCTV from the victim’s home.
– Around 10.50pm that day, Tabarhosseini checks into a hotel in Hastings. He is seen leaving the hotel around 8.10am on April 6.
– At 9.40am, a person believed to be Tabarhosseini is seen walking along Magdalen Road near to the Darren’s address. At 12.48pm, Tabarhosseini is seen leaving the victim’s home and calls his friend, who is a taxi driver. The taxi picks him up on De Cham Road.
– The taxi takes Tabarhosseini to two petrol garages in Hastings and Rye, where he is seen to dispose of items in various bins across the forecourts.
– At 3.40pm, Tabarhosseini is seen to return to his home address in Dover. Here, he changes his clothes and washes his hands before disposing of more items in the communal bins outside. He returns to the waiting taxi with a number of packed bags.
– Tabarhosseini returns to the hotel in Hastings around 5.30pm. He is seen leaving an hour later wearing different clothes again and wheeling a suitcase.
– The taxi takes Tabarhosseini to Heathrow Airport, where he tries to board a flight but with no success. The taxi brings him back to the hotel in Hastings shortly before 11pm.
– Around 1.15am on April 7, Tabarhosseini leaves the hotel to dispose of another bag in charity bins nearby. He returns to the hotel and stays until 9.37am, when he checks out.
As part of the investigation, police spoke to the taxi driver who drove Tabarhosseini around in the hours following Darren’s death. He said Tabarhosseini appeared incredibly agitated and was speaking about having assaulted his drug dealer. Tabarhosseini said he’d planned to take his dealer’s drugs and money because he’d been treating him badly.
With Tabarhosseini as a named suspect for Darren’s murder, an appeal was issued for information leading to his whereabouts. He was found and arrested in North London on April 12. He remained silent during interview and was subsequently charged with one count of murder. He was returned to Sussex to appear before the court and was remanded in custody ahead of a trial.
Speaking after the trial, Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers said: “Seyed Iman Tabarhosseini killed Darren Alderton in a violent, sustained and pre-meditated attack. He travelled to Hastings with intent to confront Darren, with intent to steal drugs and money from him, and with intent to cause him harm.
“Tabarhosseini then went to great lengths to try and cover up his crime. He changed his clothing on multiple occasions and disposed of evidence in different bins in Hastings, Rye and at his home in Dover. He even tried to leave the country and when that was unsuccessful, he tried to evade arrest in London.
“However, thanks to extensive enquiries carried out by a dedicated team of officers, we were able to piece together his movements before and after Darren’s death. This was a fast-moving investigation from the start and we are grateful to everyone who came forward with information to support the case.
“The evidence we presented to the court, including comprehensive CCTV footage, was compelling and it has resulted in a dangerous offender being rightfully convicted.”