'Devoted dad', 68, was killed in Storm Eunice when debris smashed van windscreen

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Stephen Matthews, 68, died in Storm Eunice when the van he was travelling in was struck by debris. (Reach)

Tributes have been paid to a 68-year-old man who was killed during Storm Eunice when debris struck the windscreen of a van he was travelling in.

Stephen Matthews, a father-of-two from Merseyside, was a passenger in the vehicle when it was hit during high winds on Friday.

The incident happened in Netherton at about 2.10pm as the storm swept through the region.

Matthews was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene at Switch Island off Dunnings Bridge Road.

The male driver of the van was not injured.

Thw light house at New Brighton, Merseyside, as Storm Eunice hits the south coast, with attractions closing, travel disruption and a major incident declared in some areas, meaning people are warned to stay indoors. A rare red weather warning - the highest alert, meaning a high impact is very likely - has been issued by the Met Office due to the combination of high tides, strong winds and storm surge. Picture date: Friday February 18, 2022.
The lighthouse at New Brighton in Merseyside being battered by waves as Storm Eunice hit on Friday. (PA)

Read more: Classic car collection worth £500,000 destroyed as brutal storms hit UK

In a tribute, Matthews’ family said: “Stephen was a popular and well-known member of the Aintree community who was tragically taken from us too soon.

“The beloved husband of Sylvia and devoted Dad to Jonathan and Robert, he will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends.”

People in the area posted online tributes to Mr Matthews.

Watch: Giant tree brought down on to footpath in London by Storm Eunice

Pat Moriatis said: "Very sad news, my thoughts go out to his family, friends and also to the driver who must be devastated.”

Annie Sharpes said: “Such a horrible thing to happen to someone just going about their business. That could've been any one of us. So shocking, poor man.”

Matthews was one of three people to lose their lives in the UK to Storm Eunice.

Juliana Da Silva Queiroz Murilo, 37, from Brazil, died when a tree fell on a car being driven by her husband in Highgate, north London.

Jack Bristow, 23, was killed in Hampshire when the vehicle he was travelling in collided with a tree.