The family of Chris Poole have spoken of their relief after a jury found two teenagers guilty of his murder this week.
His brother Rick, mum Diane and dad Tom also paid tribute to the 46-year-old and described him as ‘a gentle giant’ and someone who would ‘do anything for anybody’.
Diane said, “We’re just glad it’s all come to an end”, while Rick added, “I feel a happy anger and relief that the right verdict was found.
“All the stress over the last few weeks from my head just seems to have gone.”
The 44-year-old attended every day of the three-and-a-half week trial and said he and his family would be returning for the sentencing on March 15.
Chris, an assistant manager at Poundland, was born in Chichester and moved to Eastbourne with his family in 1981.
He attended Ratton School and later went on to work for Microsoft in Reading and for a garden nursery in Suffolk.
When he returned to Eastbourne he worked at Poundland where he met his partner Penny and became a father figure to her children.
Mr Poole was a great lover of animals and wild birds and his hobbies included fishing, roller skating and ten pin bowling.
Rick said the pair spent time fishing together during their childhood adding, “He was caring, he had a soft centre and was protective.
“During our teenage years we did a lot of roller booting.
“He would look after me at school.”
Diane said Chris was ‘missed terribly’ and dad Tom, added, “I still can’t get out of my head the fact that we won’t see him anymore.”
Mr Poole’s funeral took place on January 11 and colleagues from Poundland, who had arranged a wreath, attended the service.
Donations from the funeral went to East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service and Victim Support.
The family, who live in Pevensey Bay, has praised the police for their support throughout the case and in a statement Rick said, “We would like to thank Sussex Police for its meticulous and thorough hard work in bringing these criminals to justice. Also for the professional but caring and sensitive dedication they have shown us since that first terrible day.
“We also wish to thank our prosecuting counsel – Mr Farmer for his excellent work and commitment to the case from the outset. We would also like to thank Nick May, Wendy Burton, Clinton Novelle, Andy Mountford-Laker, Hannah Rayner and Alli Mundi for their tireless efforts in making sure we were all protected and cared for throughout this ordeal.”