FRIENDS of a Hampshire man believed to have been murdered in India have spoken of their shock at the loss of an “alright geezer and lovely man.”
Andrew Rodick, 39, was found wrapped in a carpet dumped in the street in New Delhi on Sunday.
In a twist a post-mortem has revealed the probable cause of death was a drugs overdose.
There were no injuries on his body, according to reports in Indian newspapers. The police are examining if drugs were administered deliberately, or if some other poison caused the death.
A source told the Times of India: “Even as the autopsy cleared much of the mystery surrounding the death, the fact that he was tied up, wrapped in a carpet and stuffed in a plastic bag points to a conspiracy by a set of people.”
A second tourist tout has been arrested.
Friends have been speaking out about Mr Rodick.
Gary Tynan said: “He was an alright geezer.
“He was a nice bloke and I’m shocked to hear about it.
“He is a family man with two daughters and a son.
He adored his children.”
Also stunned was Shereece Smith, a family friend: “It is really, really sad and such a shock.
“He was such a lovely man, with a heart of gold.
“He would do anything to help people, despite his troubled past.
“He was friendly and not at all aggressive.”
She said Mr Rodick’s drugs problems had been reported, but added: “He has always overcome his problems.
“He was open and honest about it. He was moving forward.
“Nobody deserves to have something like this.”
Mr Rodick, formerly of Hyde Gate, Hyde, had gone to India to look for work as a bricklayer and was due home soon, she said.
Ms Smith, 28, a part-time model and carer, from Winchester, said Mr Rodick’s partner Ali Barker, who is now living in Wales, was in shock, worsened by the bill of £1,500 for the cremation and return to the UK of his ashes.
The couple had been together for 12 years and had three c h i l d r e n , twin girls aged nine and a sevenyear- old son.
Ms Smith added: “He loved his children.
“He was a family man, he loved walking the dog, making trips.
“He made my autistic son a bow and arrow out of sticks.
“He would take the kids swimming and took them to Legoland.
“He did a lot of ‘dad and son’ things, putting him on his shoulders and taking him to the park.”
Mr Tynan, of Princes Place, Stanmore, added to the tributes, saying: “I met him at the Milford House hostel in St Cross. We got on really well.
“He was always really nice to me. He moved away in August, I think to Wales. “We spoke on Facebook but I didn’t know why he had decided to go over to India.
“For this to happen to him is really disgusting.”
Mr Tynan, 28, trainee manager at Timpsons in Bursledon, added: “He was always friendly and ready to go out of his way to say hello.
“I can’t believe anyone would do anything to someone like that.
“When you don’t know someone and you hear news like this you think ‘how tragic’.
“But when you know that person it hits you a lot harder.”
Anyone who would like to contribute to the fund trying to return Mr Rodick’s remains to the UK can contact the family via a Facebook page or email Ms Smith at email@example.com.