Tributes paid to well respected Eastbourne detective
Heartwarming tributes have been paid to a 52-year-old Eastbourne detective who passed away earlier this month.
Costin Bonell, who joined Sussex Police in 1995, died in St Wilfrid’s Hospice after being diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
His funeral was held today (Wednesday) with police outriders accompanying his funeral cortege to Eastbourne Crematorium and colleagues formed a guard of honour.
Born in Plymouth, Mr Bonell’s father John was a Colonel in the Army’s Royal Military Police so, with his mother Anne and sister Sam, he grew up in England, Germany and Northern Ireland.
He attended Newlands Boarding School in Seaford and later Eastbourne College where his early potential as a swimmer was realised.
He swam in competitions at county level, was an integral player on the water polo team, rowed for Eastbourne College and was an adept skier, water skier and windsurfer.
After leaving college at 18, his family say Mr Bonell had a variety of jobs including a night security worker on Eastbourne Pier and a sales executive for a major egg provider. He then worked as an insurance salesman at an estate agents before joining Sussex Police as a police constable in June 1995 at the age of 26.
Mr Bonell’s family say shift work at Sussex Police meant he had little time for hobbies but he did enjoy repairing cars and travel
He had a daughter, Brogan, now 27, and after meeting and marrying his colleague Sheila, a fellow detective, in 2014, was also step-father to Kate, 28.
Sheila said, “Costin was a perceptive, considerate, kind and very much loved man who will be greatly missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.
“Costin has left an unfillable void in our world which words cannot describe.”
Throughout his career with Sussex Police, Mr Bonell received Chief Constable’s commendations and also became one of very few advanced interviewers overseeing the investigation of some of the most serious criminals in East Sussex
Detective chief inspector Alasdair Henry, who started out as a detective at the same time as Mr Bonell, led the tributes to his former colleague.
He said, “I think it is fair to say that being a detective was really one of Costin’s passions in life.
“Throughout his career as a detective he dealt with every case with the same amount of tenacity and pure professionalism, from the shoplifter to the murderer. On reflection it is clear to me that Costin considered it a real privilege to be a police officer and this certainly shaped his work ethic and
motivation as a detective.
“Costin became an advanced interviewer in the early 2000s and later an interview co-ordinator, one of a few across the county – a real achievement. During his career he has overseen the interviews of some of the most serious criminals in our county. He was made for this specialism with his calm soft
tone, his listening ear, unassuming and unflappable personality. A fantastic interviewer who obtained outstanding results and had skills that were admired by colleagues.
“Not to put too finer point on it, Costin is responsible for ensuring that numerous dangerous criminals were put behind bars. It would take hours, but if we were to add up the total sentences he has been responsible for achieving, it must run into thousands of years.
“He provided true public service, working long hours without complaint, often after others had gone home, just to seek a successful outcome.
“With more than 20 years experience as a detective there wasn’t much he hadn’t seen and he used this to such a positive impact as a role model for colleagues, young and old. He always offered words of wisdom when asked and would help anyone. He was without doubt a thoroughly popular and widely respected officer, something he was far too modest to ever accept. Sussex really has lost one of its best detectives.
“Our profession will continue and some things will never change. Detectives will continue to face those lonely moments; about to go into a difficult suspect interview, struggling to pull together complex court files, or to have that difficult conversation with CPS to convince them to do the right thing. I know Costin will be with them, watching over them and supporting them in whatever way he can.”
Mr Bonell’s former Eastbourne CID detective inspector Iam Williams said, “Costin was a great guy and a first rate detective.”
Former Sussex CID boss Kevin Moore said, “Costin was a very likeable officer and extremely popular. He was a very capable and professional detective.”
Mr Bonell was diagnosed with cancer in November 2019 and in October 2020 retired from Sussex Police on medical grounds.
He died peacefully in St Wilfrid’s Hospice on the morning of March 10 with Sheila and Brogan at his side.
Mr Bonell also leaves his parents John and Anne Bonell and sister Sam, who lives in Australia.