Tributes paid to two cyclists killed on New Year's Day

Jamie Murray died in East Sussex hit and run, James Stephenson lost life on A3 in Hampshire; witness appeals continue

Tributes have been paid to two cyclists killed in separate incidents in southern England in the early hours of New Year’s Day as police continue to call for witnesses to both fatalities.

Jamie Murray, a 23-year-old scaffolder from Hastings, was killed in a hit-and-run incident in St Leonards at around 4am on 1 January.

His uncle, John Lomath, told BBC News that the family was not coping well with the loss of Mr Murray. “Everyone's just breaking down at the moment," he said.

He said of his nephew, "He was always there. He was always down my house helping me out - he'd help anyone. He was a loving person."

Three adult males and a teenage boy were arrested later on New Year’s Day by Sussex Police on suspicion of causing Mr Murray’s death by dangerous driving.

Two of them, a 24-year-old man from Hastings and a 33-year-old man from Bexhill, were also arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs, and another, a man aged 24 from Bexhill, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated vehicle taking.

The four, including a 17-year-old youth from Bexhill, have since been bailed until March, say police.

For the victim’s family, the uncertainty over the chain of events that caused Mr Murray’s death has added to their anguish, with Mr Lomath saying: “No-one knows 100 per cent exactly what's happened yet.

“It's just waiting for answers really. I think that's the worst part. It's just not knowing,” he added.

Meanwhile, the cyclist who died on the A3 in Hampshire at 7.30am in New Year’s Day has been named as 32-year-old James Stephenson, a father of two young girls who worked as head chef at Applegarth Farm near Grayshott.

In a statement reported on BT.com, his relatives described him as a “true family man,” and said “his sudden premature death has shocked them all.”

They added “'He will be remembered for his willingness to always help others and as a wonderful son to Caroline and Kevin, as a devoted husband to Lisa and father to Faith and Ellie.”

Hampshire Constabulary arrested a 33-year-old man from Waterlooville on suspicion of careless driving in connection with the fatal incident, which happened close to the southern entrance to the Hindhead Tunnel and was said to have involved multiple vehicles.

Like their colleagues in Sussex investigating the death of Mr Murray, they are continuing to appeal for witnesses or anyone else with information to come forward.

Both forces can be reached on the non-emergency number, 101.

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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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