Family struggling to come to terms with road death

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Devastated relatives of a young man killed when he was hit by a car say they cannot get used to life without him.

Matthew Bailey's grieving sister described him as 'someone who made people smile as soon as he walked into the room'.

She was speaking for the first time since the 22-year-old, who was born and bred in Gosport, was knocked down by a car on November 23, 2010, as he walked home from a night out with friends.

Kirsty Bailey said her whole family was struggling to come to terms with losing Matthew. 'I can still barely believe he is gone,' said the 22-year-old from Gosport.

'At first I just refused to listen when people said what had happened. I told myself it couldn't be true.

'Matt was such a warm, loving person, and no-one ever had a bad word to say about him.'

Matthew's dad, Tom, 45, of Wych Lane, Gosport, said: 'He is missed so much.

'We were supposed to be having the whole family round on Christmas Day. Without him there it was very hard for all of us.

'Matt was such a big influence on everyone around him. It was that smile, he had it when he was young and he never lost it.'

Mr Bailey added that his youngest son, four-year-old George, had been very close to his big brother.

He said: 'They were great friends.

'Matt really looked after him, and they spent hours playing together in the back garden.

'George loved Matt and still mentions him all the time. He misses his brother.'

Matthew, who had been working as a scaffolder in Jersey, regularly came back to the Portsmouth area to visit friends.

The accident happened at 2.15am as he walked with friends along Park Road, Portsmouth.

He was pronounced dead after being taken by ambulance to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

The driver of a Mini, a 24-year-old Fareham woman, was arrested by police at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Officers later arrested the driver of a Ford Focus, a 23-year-old Fareham man, on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop and report an accident. Both are currently on bail.

LANTERN TRIBUTE AT BEACH THAT MATTHEW LOVED

Friends of Matthew Bailey let off Chinese lanterns at the beach he loved to visit.

More than a dozen people went to pay their respects to the 22-year-old at Stokes Bay in Gosport and light candles in his memory.

Among them was Matthew's close friend Ash Manson, 22, from Bridgemary, who said his friend's death had left a hole in the lives of everyone who knew him.

He said: 'We needed to do something to say goodbye that he would have liked.

'He loved the beach and we went there all the time.

'It was painful but we've got to remember him and all the fun we had together.'

Matthew's dad Tom said his son was often found down at the beach with his friends.

'When we let off the first few lanterns they just fell straight into the sea,' he said.

'And I know if Matt had been there he would have been in stitches laughing.

'It was wonderful to see his friends turn up to say goodbye like that.

'To see how many hearts have been broken was quite a revelation really.

'It was great to know he had so many friends.'