Murder investigation as football player dies

PUBLISHED: 08:05 07 January 2011

James Hewlett

James Hewlett

GLOWING tributes have been paid to popular man James Hewlett who died following a serious assault on New Year’s Day.

A murder investigation was launched by police after the death of the 24-year-old who had been celebrating the start of 2011 with friends when the incident took place.

University student James, known to friends and family as Jim, has been described as a ‘loving’ son by his family and ‘extremely popular’ by his close friends.

In a statement released by his family, parents Nigel and Joanne, and sisters Laura and Corinne, said: “Jim was such a loving and fun son, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

“His love of life meant that he lived his 24 years to the maximum, but was also so caring and wise beyond his years.”

They added: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people whose lives he touched wherever he went. So many moving and funny stories that people have shared with us have meant so much.

“His life was so full of promise. We only wish that we could have had more time with him to watch him fulfil more of his dreams and ambitions.”

Keen footballer James had been enjoying a night out with friends in Cheddar when he sustained a serious head injury at around 2am on Saturday.

He was rushed to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol but later died as a result of his injuries.

One of James’ closest friends Martin Davis, aged 25, said he felt ‘lost’ following the tragic incident.

He told the Mercury: “I’ve known him for pretty much all of my life and he was one of my best mates.

“There is a group of us who hang out and we’re all supporting each other at the minute.”

He described James, of Huntsmans Ridge in Cheddar, as ‘bubbly, fun and a joker’, who was ‘always there’ for his friends.

Another pal Adam Spencer, aged 24, said: “If there was ever a man who was the life and soul of every occasion it was Jim.

“He brought a smile upon anyone who spoke to him and there was not one person that ever said a bad word about him.”

Former Kings of Wessex School pupil James enjoyed sport and regularly played for Cheddar AFC, where he was club captain before going to university in Birmingham.

Tim Richens, first team manager, said: “He was an extremely popular member of both the community and the football team.

“He was one of those people that everybody liked and someone that created a great atmosphere every time he walked into a room.”

Tim said James was ‘incredibly talented’ at football and a natural leader.

He added: “There will be a huge hole now. He brought a huge number of positive memories to all of us.”

Chris Richardson, headteacher of The Kings of Wessex School, said: “We were deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the tragic death of our former student James Hewlett.

“James was a well-respected student, hard-working, conscientious, and popular at Kings.

“James was a keen sportsman, who after graduating from university worked in our Kings Fitness and Leisure Centre for two and a half years as a lifeguard and sports Instructor.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with James’ family and friends at this difficult time.”

Samuel Binning, aged 20, of Felsberg Way, Cheddar, appeared at Sedgemoor Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with murder.

He has been remanded in custody until tomorrow (Fri) where an application for bail will be made at Bristol Crown Court.

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the incident, in particular anyone who was in the St Andrew’s Road area at the time.

Ring police on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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