Family's tribute to teen found dead in park as they plea for help to solve his mystery death
A HEARTBROKEN family have paid tribute to a "jolly giant" 15-year-old found dead in South West London in "unexplained" circumstances.
Alfie Lawton was discovered unresponsive in Green Lane Recreation Ground on the Surbiton/New Malden border on February 8 at around 7pm.
The teen's mysterious death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious, police say.
Alfie's devastated family have now paid tribute to the "comedian" schoolboy.
Cousin Sacha Martin told The Sun Online: "Alfie was a joker – just a really, really funny boy.
"He loved Only Fools and Horses and could sing the theme tune word-for-word just to make people laugh.
"I haven't found anyone yet who hasn't said he lit up the room. I know everyone says that when someone dies but he really, really did.
"He was just such a lovely boy – so laid back and gave great bear hugs.
"Alfie was a jolly giant and he is so missed.
"Family, friends, teachers, youth workers and fellow teens loved to be around him and his family and friends genuinely cherished him.
"He was never in any trouble, was a total joy to be around and his death has astounded and devastated everyone who knew him.
"We have no idea how to cope with a future without Alfie and even worse, how we support his mum, dad, brother and sister with that notion.
"His parents are absolutely devastated and his brother and sister will never, ever be the same again."
Alfie had been sticking to the rules in lockdown but asked his mum Sarah on February 8 if he could pop to the park with pals for a couple of hours.
He left at around 1.30pm but Sarah began to worry when he failed to respond to a text message around an hour-and-a-half later.
When he ignored another text and phonecalls, which was out of character for Alfie, his mum began to worry and went searching for the teen with his sister.
After a couple of hours of silence, a pal, who had been with Alfie all day, told the family the teen had gone to the recreation ground.
He was tragically found beside a railway bridge at around 6.45pm.
Sacha said: "The post mortem is ongoing, at this point we still don't know what killed Alfie.
"So many horrors go through your mind but we know this wasn't suicide.
"The community is coming forward with information and even names of people that were with him. We have ascertained that at least one friend knew Alfie was in a bad way and made the horrific decision to leave him alone and go home despite many opportunities presented to him to get help, including answering Alfie’s phone. Unfortunately that friend is not telling the police what happened to Alfie.
"Others were with the two boys and at some point over the course of the period 3pm to 5pm left them alone together. We are appealing to those boys and any other witnesses to please come forward."
'PLEASE HELP US'
The distraught family are now pleading with anyone who can shed light on Alfie's final movements to get in touch with them or the police.
They are hoping someone saw the teen between 2pm and 7pm and may be able to help.
They are now sharing a picture of Alfie in the hope anyone will recognise him and come forward.
A statement reads: "We need everyone’s help to get answers for Alfie.
"We will not jeopardise justice for him by commenting further on information already received, except to say we know he didn’t end up in the situation he was found in alone and he didn’t take his own life.
"Information is coming in and we are so grateful for the community effort to help us get answers but we aren’t at all clear yet on how he came to die.
"We would urge anyone who knows anything and hasn’t come forward to please help us piece together Alfie’s last movements.
"We specifically need to know where he was and who he was with between 2pm and 6:30 pm on Monday 8 February 2021.
"Alfie was found in an area frequented by dog walkers and other teenagers. Were your children out that day? Did they see him? Was one of your children speaking to him on the phone or vía social media?
"His parents, brother, sister and wider family deserve to know everything they possibly can to help them compute their loss. The pain they are going through is horrific. Please help us find answers for them."
A GoFundMe page set up to help the family has raised more than £10,000.
Officers from the Met Police's South West Local Investigations Team have called for anyone who was in or near the rec on the evening of Alfie's death, or those who spoke to him in the days before he died, to get in touch.
They are at the park this week handing out leaflets to help with the appeal.
Anyone with information that could help should call 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting ref CAD 5562/08FEB21
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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