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Family told Kevin Wyeth's injuries were so severe they would not be able to recognise him
THE family of a man whose badly-beaten body was found in an alleyway in Southampton have told how they were “robbed of the chance to say goodbye”.
As previously reported, the body of Kevin Wyeth was discovered one week ago in an alleyway in Woolston.
Police told his grieving mum that the injuries he suffered are so severe she would not be able to recognise him and that even formal identification procedures would not involve the family and instead had to be carried out using fingerprints because the wounds to his face, head and neck were so horrific.
It’s something that makes an unbearable grief even more difficult for his mum Linda and big sister Leanne as they today led the tributes to the 31-year-old.
As reported by the Daily Echo, paramedics went to the scene in Defender Way around 2.15am last Saturday but Kevin was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives launched a murder inquiry, cordoning off part of the immediate area and placing a forensic tent in the alleyway which is close to a cut-through with Tankerville Road.
One week on, the spot has become a sea of floral tributes to the much loved dad.
In an emotional interview, mum-of four Linda told how she remained “numb” at the needless death of her eldest son, who was just starting a new era in his life.
Describing the moment she heard the heartbreaking news, she said: “I got a phone call from someone, not the police, to tell me a body had been found and they thought it was my Kevin.
“I just collapsed to the floor and screamed the place down.
I just didn’t want to believe it was true.”
News of the discovery of his body had spread through social networking site Facebook fast – prompting sister Leanne, who was out fishing, to hear the tragic news from a friend who had read it online first.
Linda said: “He was just starting afresh and had got a new job as a groundsman at the new Saints training ground. He was really happy, teasing all his mates that he’d watched Rickie Lambert running rings round the others and wanting to celebrate getting his first wages.
“He had three little boys who were his world – they were all he ever talked about – but he had moved on at last after separating from their mother.
“He was starting to finally enjoy life again, doing what he wanted to do rather than dwelling on what might have been.”
Born and bred in Woolston, Kevin was the second-eldest child with two younger brothers, Dean and David, and attended Woolston Infant, Ludlow Junior and finally Woolston Community High School.
Despite more recently living in Weston, he remained a familiar face in Woolston where his family are contemplating a memorial to remember him by.
Linda said: “Ask anyone and the main thing they say they will remember is his lovely big smile. He was happy-go-lucky and really cared about other people. If he met someone in the street he would always make time to stop and ask how they were.”
Kevin grew up like any other typical boy, enjoying playing football, but in more recent years his biggest love was fishing.
Linda said: “He just loved it and really wanted to take his eldest son, little Kevin, with him one day. But he also loved darts and whenever it was on TV you wouldn’t see him for dust.
“He also loved gambling and could often be found playing the fruit machines in Woolston – people knew where to look if they couldn’t find him.
“He was so good on them that some people barred him from using them in his pubs because he’d empty them out.”
Leanne added: “I was his big sister but he was a little rascal when he was growing up – really mischievous.
“It’s just not sunk in yet, we are all just in shock.
“Every morning I wake up and hope for a brief moment it was just a dream but then reality kicks in and you find yourself having to go through another day of it. It’s so painful I can’t describe it, it’s like being physically hurt yourself.”
A tearful Linda added: “I’m just numb, there is no other way to describe it. I’m amazed at the number of people who have been writing such nice things, many of them he hadn’t seen since school.
“It is really comforting to know how much of a loved bloke he was.
“I think acceptance that he is gone is starting to kick in but I can’t stop thinking about the brutality of what happened to my son.
“I desperately want to go and see him, to say goodbye, but I’ve been told we can’t.
“The injuries he sustained to his head, neck and face were so awful that they had to use his fingerprints to identify him – we couldn’t go and ID him in the normal way.”
Leanne said: “We have been robbed of the chance to say goodbye and we won’t get over that.”
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