Tributes paid to Andrew O’Connell who died after being assaulted while sleeping rough
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Tributes paid to Andrew O’Connell who died after being assaulted while sleeping rough

THE FAMILY of a man who died after being assaulted earlier this week have described him as ‘a free spirit’.

Andrew O’Donnell, 54, was sleeping rough when he was seriously assaulted at Royal Pavilion Gardens in Brighton on Tuesday, August 7 at around 11.55pm.

After being found the following morning, he was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where he was treated for head injuries, but later passed away.

Another man, 32-year-old Sergio Lemori, has been charged with murder in relation to the incident.

The family of Mr O’Connell, from Kent, spoke of their devastation at the news of his death.

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“Andrew O’Connell was a family man who was loved by many,” they said in a statement.

“He was a kind, intelligent man with a free spirit who loved to travel.

“As a family we are utterly devastated, hurt and angry that he has been taken so cruelly from us.

“We ask that our privacy is respected at this time.”

Lemori, of no fixed address, was arrested in nearby Church Street shortly before 9pm on Wednesday, August 8.

He was remanded in custody and appeared before Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday, August 10, charged with murder.

He has since been further remanded until the next hearing at Lewes Crown Court this Tuesday, August 14.

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Police are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this stage, however anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting Operation Dickenson.

Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

This story has been updated to clarify that while Mr O'Donnell was rough sleeping at the time of the incident, he was not homeless