Michael Ugwa’s mum described her son, a father-of-three, as a “kind man with a large personality and an even larger heart” after he was assaulted within the food court at Lakeside shopping center
A mum has paid heartbreaking tribute to her son who died after an attack at Lakeside shopping center last week.
Michael Ugwa, 29, from Rainham, was assaulted within the food court at a shopping center in Essex before 4.30pm last Thursday (April 28).
The father-of-three died at the scene despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Essex Live reported.
Police have confirmed Brandon Lutchmunsing, of Dagenham, east London, has since been charged with murder.
A 19-year-old has also been charged with affray.
Shannon Weston, 20, of Canewdon, Essex, has been charged with assisting an offender, police said.
Both defendants appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and they have both been remanded in custody to appear at Basildon Crown Court on Friday.
And Michael’s mum has since paid a heartbreaking tribute, in a statement, she said: “Michael was a kind man with a large personality and an even larger heart.
“He was special to a great many people and so it is with great sorrow that we are writing about his untimely passing.
“Within his family, there isn’t a single person among us who doesn’t have a good story or fond memory of Michael and as we receive the condolences of many people.
“We are humbled by just how many lives he touched during his short stay on this Earth.
“As with many people, he was not a man without fault but, his desire to always try to better himself and strive for a brighter tomorrow made him a rich source of inspiration to not only his children, cousins, nieces and nephews but also to everyone who desired to see that silver lining.”
She added: “From being the first to step up when a member of the family was homeless and took them, to being the last to leave when his brother, my son, went through surgery, you could always count on him to be the staunchest supporter in your corner, a privilege that those of us, his family, were especially privy to.
“He was truly a gift that kept giving, a loving and supportive partner to his would-have-been wife, a great father to his three children, a caring brother, and a pillar of support to me, his mum, and wider family in general, including his aunts, uncles and all his cousins.
“He was the kindest soul of all, as well as the most dependable friend anyone could ever have been blessed with.
“Even though Michael has passed, and the pain of his death will be with us forever, we all choose to be like Michael and look for that silver lining in the sea of dark clouds, in the hope that the legacy he left us will long outlive the pain we feel.
“We thank everyone who has reached out to us during this most painful and saddest period of our lives, and we offer them our own condolences, as it is not only his family that has been dealt such a cruel blow.
“We express our support for everyone who is finding it as difficult as we are, to cope with his passing.
“Words alone can never describe what we, as a family are going through right now, and will go through for the rest of our lives.
“To us, the ones, left behind to pick up the pieces, our day has suddenly turned to night, our light to darkness and our hearts so indescribably and irreversibly shattered.
“We remain steadfast in our trust in God, as we look unto Him to grant us the peace, grace and strength that we need.
“We also ask that we be given the privacy and space that we need to grieve. Thank you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ashley Howard, leading the investigation, said: “As these charges highlight, our investigation is progressing but doesn’t stop.
“We still believe this attack was directed towards the victim and that the incident poses no ongoing threat to people shopping, eating and socializing at Lakeside.
“We continue to make inquiries and need anyone who has any information who has not identified themselves to police, to contact us.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.