My heartbreak at best pal's death

PUBLISHED: 12:59 25 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

THE BEST friend of Suffolk strangle victim John Westgate today paid tribute to the devoted dad-of-three and spoke of the heartbreak caused by his death.

THE BEST friend of Suffolk strangle victim John Westgate today paid tribute to the devoted dad-of-three and spoke of the heartbreak caused by his death.

"My best mate has gone and it has broken my heart knowing I'll never see him again," said Adrian Provins, who was also Mr Westgate's former brother-in-law. "The family is in shock."

A murder inquiry was launched after Mr Westgate's body was found in a flat in Dinsdale Court, Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, on September 6.

Mr Provins said the children of the 36-year-old are also consumed with grief by their father's death. "His eldest son is trying so hard to keep a brave face," he said.

"How are the kids going to cope? The only memory they have of their dad is photos. They won't be able to see him, hold him, go out with him," Mr Provins added, struggling to hold back his tears. "He used to come and visit them every weekend and take them out.

"No-one's perfect but he was always there for them. He was an excellent dad."

Adrian Provins met John Westgate when the two started at Stoke High School in Ipswich more than two decades ago. Motorcycle fan Mr Westgate went on to marry Mr Provins' sister, and the best friends became brothers-in-law.

Though Mr Westgate and his wife divorced several years ago, the devoted dad continued to return from his new Felixstowe home to see his two sons and daughter in Ipswich whenever he could, Mr Provins said.

Just weeks ago, he took his eldest son to the pub for their first proper drink together when the youngster turned 18.

Mr Provins told how he used to drink

regularly with Mr Westgate in Ipswich's pubs, including the Cock and Pye and The Golden Lion, before he moved to Lowestoft two years ago. "Everywhere we went he seemed to know people. I know that there are going to be a lot of shocked people in Ipswich now.

"They'll remember him as a happy-go-lucky chap who was always there for anyone. If ever anyone needed something, he'd do his best to help," said 36-year-old Mr Provins.

He told of the strong ties that stretched

back years.

"We went to school together and then 15 or 20 years ago we did a painting and decorating course together.

"He was friendly and outgoing – always the first to start a conversation. When I used to come down for Christmas, we'd sit talking in

the kitchen."

Mr Westgate met Mr Provins' sister Liz when she was 18. He said. "John was working on a building site in Samuel Road on demolition. My mum had just moved into a flat and my sister was helping her."

But it was only after the couple had met that Mr Westgate realised his sweetheart was his best mate's sister, Mr Provins said. And from sharing a school, the former Stoke High pupils started sharing family gatherings.

Of his friend's death, he said: "I still can't believe it."

A post mortem examination on Mr Westgate's body revealed that he died as a result

of strangulation.

Zena Burton, 45, of Dinsdale Court, has been charged with his murder.

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