13 December 2013, 10:12
The mum of a man, murdered in a fire at his flat in Littlehampton, has made an emotional appeal for help to find whoever is responsible.
Terry Davies died in the fire at his flat in South Terrace on September 12 which is now being treated as arson and murder.
The 24-year-old's mum Mitzi Price, who lives in Rustington, said: "Even if anyone has the smallest piece of information, just a little snippet, all of it can add up and if anyone can think of anything from that night it could help. All I keep thinking is why? Why would someone do that? Why Terry? I think of that all the time.
"I was just in shock when officers came to tell me he had died, it was just a normal working day for us and all I kept thinking was 'he's 24, he can't die'. Then I remember feeling completely numb and I still am. You function and do things but really a part of me has died. He has left a huge hole in our lives."
Terry, who had learning difficulties, had lived in the one-bedroom flat on the seafront for 16 months and this was the first time he had properly lived away from home. But Mitzi said Terry had been determined to live independently.
"The flat was a typical man's flat, a bit messy, he was a typical bloke really. I was always like a typical mum, worried about him but he was fine and when he got with Kerry (his girlfriend)that's when his life started."
They met fwhen he started working at Littlehampton Morrisons back in February.
"He didn't know Kerry straight away but then they met at a staff party and got talking and that was it. Terry said to me he was going to ask Kerry to marry him, he couldn't keep a secret, he talked to her about it and they were so happy. He was going to ask her on her birthday in November, that was so sad as it should have been a very happy day.
"Terry was so popular at work, they've planted a tree for him and they plan put a bench up at his old school, Palatine, as a memorial, where he had many happy days. From when he was a little boy, he would offer everyone his sweets and there would be none left for him, that's just what he was like. He always found it hard to learn and always saw things as black and white but he was a real people person.
"He liked working at Morrisons but really he wanted to be a driver, driving coaches or HGVs. He loved driving, he would drive around for the sake of driving. When he first started working at Morrisons, he saved up to buy himself a blue Saxo."
Mitzi said the lead up to Christmas, Terry's favourite time of year, is very hard.
She added: "He loved all the lights and as soon as he had his birthday in July, he would start talking about Christmas."
His younger brother Jason, who will be 14 this weekend, said he was close to his half-brother, despite the 10 year age gap. "He used to take me for drives and we were always connected through technology, we'd Skype even though he lived close and we used to play on Xbox Live a lot."
Detective Inspector John Wallace, from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: ""A young man lost his life that night because someone started that fire in the property, a fire which could have cost the lives of the other occupants who had to be rescued by firefighters. We need to find who was responsible. We are appealing to anyone who may hold any information which will help us with our enquiries and bring justice to Terry's family."
Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or email email@example.com quoting Operation Annexe or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.