Tributes have been paid to a “family man” who was a “gentle soul” and “full of happiness” after he was found dead by the side of a road.

Paul Lawrence, 51, has been called a “hero” and a “special and endearing person” by his family after he was found dead in Gladonian Road in Littlehampton on Sunday morning.

His family also say that his grandchildren have “had the best grandad in the world taken from them” and that their hearts are “totally ripped apart”.

A 16-year-old arrested on suspicion of murder has been released on bail.

In a statement, released through Sussex Police, Paul’s daughters Louise and Josephine said: “Paul was a true representation of what every man should be or should aspire to be. Kind, generous, and always laughing or smiling with the most reassuring smiley eyes.

“Our dad was our hero, our strength, our everything.

“He was a family man who devoted his life to his children and grandchildren, and he was immensely proud of everything they achieved.

“He was a gentle soul, full of happiness, and loved by all who knew him.

“Not only has he lost out on special memories watching his grandchildren grow up; they have also had the best grandad in the world taken from them.

The Argus: Police tape in the roadPolice tape in the road (Image: The Argus)

“We could go on forever listing all the great things about him, but ultimately, no words will ever be enough to describe the impact of our loss.”

“Every second spent with you and every memory we hold will be forever cherished. Words cannot describe how much we love you Dad. All we can hope for is justice.”

Paul was killed in the early hours of the morning and was found in Gladonian Road in Wick near Littlehampton at around 6am.

Neighbours have described Paul, who lived in the town, as the “nicest person” who was “known by everybody”.

Dorothy Osman, who lives in Gladonian Road, said: “It is a very quiet street. One of my neighbours’ dogs was barking and making a commotion during the night.”

One shop owner from a nearby business said: “He was the nicest person, he had friendly eyes.”

Sussex Police remained in the road on Monday but a cordon was removed at around 11.15am.

The Argus: A cordon in Gladonian RoadA cordon in Gladonian Road (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

Paul’s siblings, John and Shelley, said: “Paul was the kindest man that would help anyone. He would light up the darkest of rooms with his smile and cheeky laugh. We are honoured to say that Paul Lawrence was our brother. Our hearts are not only broken but they’re totally ripped apart.”

His mum, Marie, added: “My lovely son Paul, I’m really broken. I loved him so much, I can’t visualise this world without him.”

Paul’s stepdaughter Chloe said: “I could go on for days about why Paul was such a special and endearing person, but his number one quality for me has to, and always will be, his ability to love me as his own. It takes a great man to be a dad, but it takes an even greater man to be a stepdad.”

Sussex Police arrested a 16-year-old from Littlehampton on suspicion of murder but he has since been released on bail with strict conditions, including a curfew, until March 14.

Enquiries are ongoing.

Sussex Police DI Duncan Elliot, the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “This is an active investigation and our officers are working tirelessly to establish exactly what happened that morning.

“This has included forensic analysis of the scene, house-to-house enquiries, taking witness statements, and securing information and intelligence.

“We are treating this as an isolated incident and we have no information at this time to suggest a weapon was involved.

“We are still appealing to anyone with any information to please come forward, especially if you have any mobile, CCTV or dash cam footage which may have captured anything.

“In the meantime, I’d like to remind the public to please refrain from speculating or posting anything on social media which could jeopardise the investigation.

“If you have any information, you can report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Sett.”