Girl's tears for tragic Simon

BARELY able to conceal her tears, little Ryleigh Griffin-James today paid a poignant tribute to alleged murder victim Simon Amers.

Colin Adwent

BARELY able to conceal her tears, little Ryleigh Griffin-James today paid a poignant tribute to alleged murder victim Simon Amers.

The 11-year-old said she was left distraught when she found out the 36-year-old who she loved so much had died at his Ipswich home from stab wounds to his neck, chest and abdomen.

Mr Amers' body was discovered at the property in Widgeon Close, Chantry, last Thursday afternoon.

In an emotion-filled tribute, Ryleigh wrote what Mr Amers meant to her and the moment she found out he had died.

It read: “I saw mum in tears across the road and I wondered what was up.

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“I already knew it was about our friend Simon, but I would of never guessed what mum was about to say - 'He's dead' she said.

“Then I felt a horrible feeling submerge me from my head to my toes like the feeling I'm getting when I'm writing this.

“I tried to run away, but mum made me feel better - kind of safe in her arms with my sister, tears falling on to my head.

“If I could speak to him one more time I would say 'Simon, you are an amazing person and you were the only one who I actually trusted to cut my hair even though it sometimes turned out not how it should. You always looked on the bright side of things and we all miss you so much. I miss your so honest and open advice and quotes, though some of them were true but not what I wanted to hear'.

“You made me smile when I found it hard to, and you and mum were like a knot that could never be undone. We all thought of you as invincible and we still think the same. You are loved by many people and you are truly fabulous.

Ryleigh's family, of Coronation Road, Ipswich, said Mr Amers had been like a surrogate father to her and her 17-year-old sister, Taylor.

Mr Amers, who was openly gay, was known as 'Auntie Simon' to the children.

Taylor is also struggling to come to terms with his death.

She said: “Simon was basically the only male role model I had in my life for a long while. As much as he was a social butterfly he was always there. Though his family weren't down here, we were his family.”

Taylor said Mr Amers would spend Christmas and birthdays with them. He was also there for her on the day of her school prom and when she got her GCSE results.

She added: “There's a big hole no-one can ever fill when it comes to Simon. He was one of a kind. You will never find anyone like him again.”

A 46-year-old Ipswich man has been charged with Mr Amers' murder.

Rodney Greenland, of Manchester Road is currently remanded in custody until his next court appearance which will be at Ipswich Crown Court on October 16.

RYLEIGH's mum Talaya Griffin also spoke movingly of Mr Amers today.

The 38-year-old, of Coronation Road, Ipswich, had been friends with the hair stylist for around nine years after he had moved down to Ipswich from Hull.

Ms Griffin said: “I met Simon in Brannigans (which used to be in Cardinal Park). He was working behind the bar. He told me I had a fabulous outfit and we had been best friends ever since.

“Simon wouldn't let anything or anyone get to him. He would never, ever let anything get him down.

“If he was around people who were down he wouldn't allow it. If my kids were throwing tantrums he found a way to look on the bright side.

“Simon would give everybody the benefit of the doubt. If they ever hurt him he would still forgive them.”

Mr Amers had a daughter, Becky, who is said to be aged around 20.

Becky is thought to live on Humberside and is believed to have had relatively little contact with her father. However, Ms Griffin said it did not stop him loving her.

She said: “Simon loved his daughter very much. He adored her. He always made it clear to her that if she ever needed him she knew where he was.”

Ms Griffin's sister-in-law Gemma Griffin was also left in tears by the news that Mr Amers had died and the effect it has had on her nieces.

The 28-year-old said: “The girls are going to miss Simon and they will never forget him.

“He will always be there in their hearts watching over them on all their special occasions.

“Simon meant the world to them.”