A family have issued a tribute to their "loving, kind, funny and protective son and brother" who was killed in Portugal.

Joel Alexander Eldridge from Bexhill went to Portugal for work in January 2018 and was in regular contact with his family.

But the 29-year-old was reported missing in July 2018 after his family lost touch with him.

Joel’s body was found in August 2019.

Sussex Police supported the Portuguese Judicial Police's investigation into his disappearance and provided support to his family.

In February 2024, two defendants who stood trial accused of Joel's murder were acquitted after court hearings in Portugal.

Following the conclusion of the trial, his family have issued a statement about the impact of the case.

Read more: Trial date fixed for man accused of killing mum and dad-of-four

They said: “Joel Alexander Eldridge was 29 years old when he was brutally killed in 2018.

“The impact on our family has been devastating. We have lost a loving, kind, funny and protective son and brother.

“Always smiling, Joel was a constant presence at home, helping with any jobs that needed doing.

“As a child, Joel was mischievous and cheeky. He loved his Lego and computer games. As he got older, he took up guitar and became very proficient. He trained as a security guard. Working a variety of jobs, he was a reliable, hard worker.

“He was a loyal friend to many, always willing to stand up for his mates.

“Joel just went to work in Portugal for a couple of months. He kept in touch with us regularly, as he always did.

“In July 2018 contact stopped. We never heard from him again. In August 2019, Joel’s body was found in Portugal.

“Joel was popular locally, with a huge circle of friends. His loss has left a hole in the hearts of all who knew him that will never be filled. Joel will never get to enjoy settling down, becoming a dad himself, or sharing in happy future family occasions.

“He is loved and missed so much by our family and all who knew him.”