The victim's story

ZAK Brown's short life was tinged with tragedy and his death was the fourth to strike his family.The 21-year-old spent most of his formative years growing up without his parents after father Don succumbed to a crippling drug addiction which killed him, while mother Sharon died soon after.

Josh Warwick

ZAK Brown's short life was tinged with tragedy and his death was the fourth to strike his family.

The 21-year-old spent most of his formative years growing up without his parents after father Don succumbed to a crippling drug addiction which killed him, while mother Sharon died soon after.

His uncle, Chris, also died from a drug overdose.


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Born in Ipswich, Mr Brown was a pupil at Ranelagh Primary School but when his parents died he moved to Leiston to live with his grandmother, Gina Lisher.

He attended the town's high school before moving back to Ipswich five years ago and eventually into a flat of his own in Woodbridge Road.

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As a teen, Mr Brown dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and playing for boyhood heroes Liverpool. Those ambitions were shattered when he tore knee ligaments.

Mr Brown was a known drug-user and had only been released from prison three weeks before he was fatally stabbed by Botterill. Relatives said Mr Brown had made bold efforts to turn his life around while behind bars.

He had completed a painting and decorating course and had attended several job interviews soon after his release.

Mr Brown's older half-brother, Ronnie, said: “He came out and everyone was so proud of him because he took the painting and decorating course while in prison.”

Ronnie, who has lived in Aberdeen since 2001, said Mr Brown had planned to visit him in Scotland - and had even spoken of travelling north on the day he was killed.

He said: “Zak wanted to come up that day (September 10). He wanted to spend a week with me. What's happened is tragic. It's hurt us all.”

His grandmother, Mrs Lisher, of Felaw Street, Ipswich, said her latest loss had left a huge hole in her life. She said: “Zak was a jolly character - always laughing and joking. He was a friendly type and had a lot of time for anyone.

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

Do you want to pay tribute to Zak? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or you can send an e-mail to starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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