Ipswich: Warm tributes paid to “talented” 26-year-old found dead in Ipswich river

TRIBUTES have been paid to the young man found dead in the river near Stoke Bridge.

Peter Ralph, 26, was discovered in the water close to Stoke Bridge on Monday.

The former Northgate High School student – a talented guitarist – could often be found busking around Ipswich. He was also well-known among the town’s skater community.

Pal Rosa McMillan said: “It has come as a big shock to me – I only spoke to him a couple of days ago.

“He busked in the town to make some money but he was actually a really talented musician.”

Police are treating his death as unexplained but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Officers were called to the River Orwell, near to Stoke Bridge, at 11.30am on Monday after Mr Ralph was found.

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His friends held a memorial service in his honour on the night of his death at the skate park – close to where his body was disovered.

Crowds gathered to pay their respects to Mr Ralph, who was known to his friends as Little Pete.

Friend Miss McMillan first met Mr Ralph when the pair were both 16.

“He was a really good friend of mine,” she said.

“We lived in the Foyer when we were about 16 and then we shared a flat together when I was about 19.

“He loved playing the guitar and he had a passion for the drums.

“He just got mixed up in the wrong stuff unfortunately. He was so bubbly and he was actually quite an innocent man with a kind nature despite everything he got involved in.”

Adam Maske, another friend of Mr Ralph, said he had struggled to come to terms with the death of friend Tania Nicol, who was killed by Steve Wright in 2006.

He said: “He and Tania Nicol were very close and he was never the same after she was killed. It’s very sad.”

Another friend, Amie Marie Stannard, said: “You were a lovely young talented young chap, who had his life taken way too soon.

“It’s so sad you’re gone. I only saw you on Friday in town playing your lovely music.

“Thinking of your family at this very sad time. Rest in peace angel and we will see you again one day.”

Tanita Dighton said she often saw Mr Ralph around the town and last saw him playing his guitar near to Cardinal Park on September 1.

“He played Wonderwall by Oasis and he sung it amazingly, he had an incredible voice,” she said.

“Straight away we were surrounded by about 20 people, all singing along with him.

“I can’t really believe he has died.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said Mr Ralph’s next of kin had been informed of his death but formal identification and a post mortem were yet to take place.

She added: “This is now an issue for the coroner and a file is being prepared. No further details will be issued until the inquest is opened.

“At this stage, as is standard procedure, the death is being treated as unexplained but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.”