THE FAMILY of a man who died under suspicious circumstances six months ago say they are devastated they have only just been allowed to hold his funeral.
Twenty-five-year-old Philip McPhee died in March after collapsing suddenly at a house in Hampden Park and a woman is currently still on bail while police investigate allegations she supplied drugs to him and manslaughter.
Emergency services rushed to a house in Kingston Road on March 5 and Philip, also known as Pippin, was taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings where he died five days later.
On Wednesday, Philip was finally laid to rest with a procession of classic cars and a limousine from his parents’ home in Redoubt Road to Eastbourne Crematorium where his friends carried his coffin and a humanitarian service.
But his family say while they have the utmost respect for the police and the investigation, it has been a long and difficult six months.
His mother Vivien Townshend said, “Philip’s body was only recently released as there had to be three post mortems carried out including a Home Office one and another requested by solicitors representing people being investigated by the police, and that is what took the time.
“We have just wanted to put him to rest, it’s been devastating, like a long bad dream.
“His funeral has been about celebrating the good 25 years he had and testament to what a lovely guy he was.”
Philip was born in Eastbourne, went to Willingdon Trees Primary School and Hampden Park Secondary School, and dreamed of becoming a prison officer.
“Philip didn’t have a bad bone in his body,” said Vivien. “Even though he didn’t work he gave some of his benefit money to charity and helped out at the Matthew Mission.”
It was that charity – formerly the Oasis Project which helps homeless people – that Vivien and Philip’s step-father Robin Bothwell asked for donations to be made to instead of flowers at his funeral.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said, “A 25-year-old woman, arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, has been granted bail until September 17.”