Grandmother's pain over stabbing death

A HEARTBROKEN grandmother who lost two sons in tragic circumstances today spoke of the immense “hole in her life” following the stabbing death of her grandson.

A HEARTBROKEN grandmother who lost two sons in tragic circumstances today spoke of the immense “hole in her life” following the stabbing death of her grandson.

In the wake of 21-year-old Zak Hockley Brown's funeral in Ipswich, Gina Lisher spoke for the first time about her family's turmoil following his death and her heartache over him being taken from her.

She said of Mr Hockley Brown, who lived with her while growing up in Leiston and again when the pair moved to Ipswich: “He had a heart of gold and would help anyone he could.”

Mr Hockley Brown died in Trinity Walk, Stowupland, after being found with a stab wound in the early hours of September 10. On Thursday his family and friends gathered for his funeral to remember him and celebrate his life.

Mrs Lisher, of Felaw Street, Ipswich, said: “He was a jolly character - always laughing and joking. He was a friendly type and had a lot of time for anyone.”

Mrs Lisher, who has arthritis, said Zak would always come to her home and help around the house or with shopping, and days before he was killed he was painting her house for her.

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She said: “The whole family has taken his death really badly - he was so young, it is terrible when something like this happens to anyone but particularly at his age.

“He would make my day - if I was feeling down then he would start chatting away and by the time he had finished I would have cheered up.

“This has left a huge hole in my life. He will be very sadly missed by a lot of people.”

Zak was born in Ipswich and attended Ranelagh primary school.

Tragically his mother, Sharon, and father, Don, both died when he was young. His father died from a drug overdose, as did Mrs Lisher's other son Chris who died the same year as Zak's dad.

Following their deaths, she took seven-year-old Zak and two of his cousins to live with her in Leiston.

While they lived there Zak attended Leiston High School where he was a keen footballer and member of the school team, as well as playing for the village's youth team.

He moved back into Ipswich with his grandmother five years ago, and later moved into a flat of his own in the town.

On Thursday he was buried next to his mother at Ipswich cemetery, following a packed-out service at the cemetery chapel.

During the service the congregation listened as one of his favourite songs, Pink Floyd's The Wall, was played.

Mrs Lisher said: “It was lovely to see so many people who cared about him there. There were a lot of friends of his from all over the area, as well as family who came down from as far as Scotland.

“A lot of people thought very highly of him and he will be greatly missed.”

She said he was particularly close to half-sisters Claire, 29, and Suesanna, 26, his uncle Dannie, half-brother Ronald, 30, and cousins Jade, 24, Danielle, 20, Tash, 19, Ben, 21 and Barney, 17.

A Stowmarket man is due to appear in court in December charged with murder following the death of Mr Hockley Brown.

Keiran Botterill, 26, of Soames Close, has been remanded in custody to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on December 7.