A cyclist who killed a greengrocer in a road-rage attack has been told to prepare himself for jail.

Paul Lambeth, 35, pleaded guilty yesterday to the manslaughter of Tony Magdi, who died after a single punch to the head in Portland Road, Hove in November last year.

Mr Magdi was attacked as he opened his car door into the path of three cyclists, causing them to swerve out of the way.

Lambeth threw the fatal punch that knocked Mr Magdi, 52, to the floor and left him with serious head injuries.

He was taken to Hurstwood Park Neurosciences Centre in Haywards Heath but died three weeks later.

Yesterday his close friends spoke of their relief at the case not having to go to trial. The Argus contacted George Jeha, who was visiting Mr Magdi at the time of his death, and his wife Liz Collis to tell them that Lambeth had admitted killing their friend.

Mrs Collis said it was “absolutely wonderful” news that will “help with the healing process.”

She said: “It won’t bring Antoine back but it is such a relief. I am quite overwhelmed.

“It will really help us move on with the grieving process.

“We are remembering the good times. We still miss him very, very much.”

Mr Jeha’s daughter Laura, 17, said: “Tony treated me like his daughter. They really, really miss Tony and I do too.

“What happened was so upsetting and so traumatic. It was pretty hard.”

Mr Magdi’s own two children with former wife Louise Greenwood, Joseph and Christina, both died in infanthood from spinal muscular atrophy.

Mr Magdi’s death prompted a public outpouring of grief in the community and £2,000 was raised in his name. His fruit and vegetable shop on Portland Road, which he lived above, is still closed and is now up for sale.

Detective Inspector Lee Horner, of Sussex Police, said the attack was “completely out of the blue”.

He added Lambeth’s guilty plea will act as a form of “closure” for the community.

He said: “It would have left a bitter taste in people’s mouths to have a trial.

“It was a random act. He lost control of himself and it was an unlucky punch.

“People don’t like the term one-punch manslaughter but it does quite aptly sum up these set of circumstances.

“Most of the damage came when he hit the floor but there is no getting away from the fact that if it was not for that punch he would still be here now.”

Yesterday sitting at Hove Crown Court Judge Michael Lawson QC described the attack as a “sudden loss of control”

He told Lambeth: “You should understand as I’m sure you already do that custodial sentence is inevitable.”

He was released on bail and is due to return to court on June 3 for sentencing.