‘Rest in eternal peace, Vlad’: Ilford homeless shelter pays tribute to murdered rough sleeper found in Aldborough Hatch

Tributes have been paid to 57-year-old Vladislavs Radionovs, who was found dead in Aldborough Hatch

Tributes have been paid to 57-year-old Vladislavs Radionovs, who was found dead in Aldborough Hatch at the weekend. Pictures: The Welcome Centre - Credit: Archant

An Ilford charity providing support to the homeless has paid tribute to “a gentle giant” who was found dead in Aldborough Hatch last weekend, sparking a murder investigation.

Vladislavs Radionovs' unresponsive body was discovered in a country lane just off Oaks Lane, near Aldborough Hatch Farm, at 6.12am on Saturday, November 2.

He had suffered a serious head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Investigating police officers believe he had been assaulted somewhere else before being left there.

The Welcome Centre, based in St Mary's Road, Ilford, revealed that staff there had been working with Vladislavs, known as Vlad to his friends, since December 2011.

In a statement on its Facebook page, a spokesman said: "It's with sad news and heavy hearts that we announce the death of another client.

Mr Vladislavs Radionovs died on Saturday, November 2, the circumstances yet unknown.

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"The Welcome Project has known Vlad since Dec 2011 and saw him quite frequently at the project.

"He had long bouts of homelessness but was in accommodation for a short period of time during the eight years we knew him.

"In Latvia, his country of birth, Vlad played Ice Hockey at an Olympic Level.

"He was very successful and achieved many medals and lots of recognition - that gave him a lot of pleasure and joy.

"He also enjoyed music and singing and would sing his heart out to songs when we had musical events at the centre.

"Vlad also has family in Latvia.

"For the last few years, he had been a guest at the Salvation Army Night Shelter and lately Ryedale Night Shelter.

"Vlad was known as a gentle giant although he had the firmest handshake I've ever known!

"Vlad will be missed by Staff, volunteers and clients.

"Rest in eternal peace, Vladislavs."

A murder investigation into the events surrounding Vlad's death is ongoing.

Speaking earlier this week Det Ch Insp Katherine Goodwin, who is leading the investigation, said: "Vladislavs Radionovs was found on a footpath in the area of Aldborough Hatch Farm which is off Oaks Lane.

"While we remain open minded, I believe it is likely that Mr Radionovs was taken to the path after being assaulted somewhere else and was left there at some time between late on the evening of Friday, November 1 and the early hours on Saturday morning when he was found.

"I am keen to speak with anyone who was in the area during that time.

"Were you walking your dog in the area? Did you jog or cycle in the area? Did you notice any vehicles acting suspiciously?

"If you knew Vladislavs, when was the last time you saw him?

"I am trying to piece together a picture of his life in the days and weeks prior to the discovery of his body.

"If you know anything, no matter how insignificant it may seem, please do contact us."

Anyone with information should contact homicide detectives on incident room number 0208 785 8244 or call 101 quoting CAD 1823/02 November.

If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.