Family pay tribute to their ‘lovable rogue’ as killer is sentenced

VICTIM Simon Warton with his daughter Bonnie Mourne
VICTIM Simon Warton with his daughter Bonnie Mourne
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THE family of murdered Simon Warton have spoken movingly about how his death has affected them.

Speaking to The News after they saw Simon’s killer, Sean Bailey, sentenced to life in prison, they told how he was their ‘lovable rogue’.

VICTIM Simon Warton with his daughter Bonnie Mourne

VICTIM Simon Warton with his daughter Bonnie Mourne

The 27-year-old was stabbed to death outside a party in Curlew Gardens, Wecock, being thrown to celebrate his homecoming – he had been released from jail earlier that day on April 12.

Bailey, 29, became enraged when he saw Simon comforting his girlfriend outside the house after the pair had had an argument. Bailey grabbed four knives from the kitchen, and despite attempts from Simon’s friends Matt Mourne and Bradley Woodacre to stop him, he stabbed Simon in the street and fled the scene.

Mum Dawn Warton, of Orsmond Close in Waterlooville, said: ‘He wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong, we all know that. But he was our lovable rogue, even the police would call him a lovable toerag.

‘It was so lovely to have him home. He was away for five months, but it seemed like a lifetime. When I first saw him, I told him he was looking so well. He looked amazing.’

Simon spent the afternoon with his mum and daughter Bonnie, then three, before they went to drop him off at the home of Bonnie’s mum, Gemma Mourne, and her brother Matt.

‘He said “Love you mum”, gave me big hug, and then said: “I’ll see you tomorrow.” That was the last time I saw him.

‘When I look at Bonnie, all I can see is Simon. It’s a little bit of him that lives on. She always asks questions about him.

‘I’d like to thank the police and everyone who has helped us, they’ve all been incredible.

‘At the funeral there were so many people from all the different angles he had to his life, and they were all so lovely. It breaks my heart.’

More than 300 people packed the wake for Simon at The Heroes pub in Waterlooville.

Brother Eddie Warton, 20, added: ‘It was nice to see. He never knew he was loved as much as he was.’

Sentencing Bailey at Winchester Crown Court in front of a public gallery packed with Simon’s friends and family, Mr Justice Ian Hamblen said that Bailey had used his then girlfriend, who was ‘in thrall’ to him, to support his lies.

He said: ‘I accept you are remorseful and that you were from the moment you learned of Simon’s death.

‘However you did not act with remorse. You concocted a story of self-defence, got your girlfriend to back you up and put everyone through a trial.’

He sentenced Bailey, of Robin Gardens in Waterlooville, to life in prison, to serve a minimum of 19 years.

THE IMPACT STATEMENT OF SIMON WARTON’S MOTHER

Simon loved his daughter Bonnie very much.

When we told Bonnie her daddy had gone to be a star in the sky and she will only be able to see him at his special place, she asked a lot of questions.

She was hoping her dad would be taking her to the park, as he had promised her the night before he died.

She said: ‘My dad has let me down.’ Then we told her she won’t be able to see her daddy again as he was hurt badly and the angels came and took him to be a star.

She said she wanted to cuddle him, it was heartbreaking and I was trying to be strong, but inside my heart is broken.

I then took one of Simon’s jumpers round with his smell of Hugo Boss on it. Bonnie still has that in her bed every night to cuddle and waves night-night to the star which is her dad.

On her fourth birthday in July, Bonnie asked me to get a cake with photos of her and Simon on it, which I did and we had to take some up for her dad to his grave.

Simon was supposed to take Bonnie to school on her first day in September.

Bonnie remembered this so she painted a picture and put it on Simon’s grave. She asked me if daddy can breathe up in heaven – I told her he can do anything up there as he is not hurt any more.