Pictured: ‘Kindest soul’ Michael Ugwa beaten to death in Lakeside food court

·2-min read
Michael Ugwa (Essex Police)
Michael Ugwa (Essex Police)

This is the first picture of a father-of-three who was knifed to death in front of horrified shoppers inside Lakeside centre food court.

Michael Ugwa, 29, from Rainham, was assaulted within the food court at the centre shortly before 4.30pm last Thursday.

His family said Mr Ugwa was due to be married and his death had left their hearts “irreversibly shattered”.

Lakeside murder (Essex Police)
Lakeside murder (Essex Police)

His mother said in a statement: “Michael was a kind man with a large personality and an even larger heart. He was special to a great many people. We are humbled by just how many lives he touched during his short stay on this Earth.

“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.”

She added: “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.

“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.”

A man and a woman were arrested on Monday and they have both now been charged.

Brandon Lutchmunsing, 19, of Grafton Road, Dagenham has been charged with murder and affray.

Shannon Weston, 20, of Paddocks Close, Canewdon has been charged with assisting an offender.

They both appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday 4 May) and were remanded in custody and are both due to appear before Basildon Crown Court on Friday.

DCI Ashley Howard, who’s 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 socialising at Lakeside.

“We continue to make inquiries and need anyone who has any information who has not identified themselves to police, to contact us.”

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