Tributes have been paid to a beloved resident of Littlehampton, who was tragically killed in the early hours of Sunday 28 January.
Local man Paul Lawrence was sadly pronounced deceased at the scene of the incident in Gladonian Road around 6am that day. He was aged 51.
His family have been supported by specially trained officers throughout.
Paul’s daughters Louise and Josephine have issued the following statement on the family’s behalf:
“Paul was a much-loved son, brother, father and grandfather. He was a family man who devoted his life to his children and grandchildren, and he was immensely proud of everything they achieved.
“He was a gentle soul, full of happiness, and loved by all who knew him.
“Paul was a true representation of what every man should be or should aspire to be. Kind, generous, and always laughing or smiling with the most reassuring smiley eyes. Our Dad was our hero, our strength, our everything.
“Not only has he lost out on special memories watching his grandchildren grow up; they have also had the best grandad in the world taken from them.
“We could go on forever listing all the great things about him, but ultimately, no words will ever be enough to describe the impact of our loss.”
“Every second spent with you and every memory we hold will be forever cherished. Words cannot describe how much we love you Dad. All we can hope for is justice.”
Paul’s siblings, John and Shelley, said: “Paul was the kindest man that would help anyone. He would light up the darkest of rooms with his smile and cheeky laugh. We are honoured to say that Paul Lawrence was our brother. Our hearts are not only broken but they’re totally ripped apart.”
And his mum, Marie, added: “My lovely son Paul, I’m really broken. I loved him so much, I can’t visualise this world without him.”
Paul’s step-daughter Chloe said: “I could go on for days about why Paul was such a special and endearing person, but his number one quality for me has to, and always will be, his ability to love me as his own. It takes a great man to be a dad, but it takes an even greater man to be a step-dad.”
The same day, a 16-year-old boy from Littlehampton was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Having carefully considered the circumstances, he has since been released on bail with strict conditions, including a curfew, until 14 March as enquiries continue.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Duncan Elliott, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “This is an active investigation and our officers are working tirelessly to establish exactly what happened that morning. This has included forensic analysis of the scene, house-to-house enquiries, taking witness statements, and securing information and intelligence.
“We are treating this as an isolated incident and we have no information at this time to suggest a weapon was involved.
“We are still appealing to anyone with any information to please come forward, especially if you have any mobile, CCTV or dash cam footage which may have captured anything.
“In the meantime, I’d like to remind the public to please refrain from speculating or posting anything on social media which could jeopardise the investigation.
“If you have any information, you can report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Sett.”
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.