Essex

Harlow 'hate crime' murder: Arek Jozwik's family devastated

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Media captionA witness has described seeing Polish man Arkadiusz Jozwik lying motionless and bleeding on his restaurant floor

The family of a Polish man who died in a possible hate crime in Essex have said they are "extremely devastated".

Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, suffered head injuries in an unprovoked attack in Harlow, on Saturday night. He died on Monday evening.

Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of killing Mr Jozwik, whose death has shocked the Polish community.

The family of Mr Jozwik, also known as Arek, said he was a hard-working man who loved spending time with them.

Polish people react to the murder of Arkadiusz Jozwik

Essex Police have said that a suspected hate crime is just one of a number of lines of investigation.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The family said Mr Jozwik loved spending time with his relatives

In a statement, the family said: "We are all extremely devastated. This is obviously a very difficult time for us as Arek was taken from us so suddenly and unexpectedly.

"He loved IT and strategic gaming and enjoyed life as a bachelor."

Essex Police said Mr Jozwik was assaulted at about 23:35 BST on Saturday outside the TGF Pizza and Mr Luigi's takeaway shops in The Stow.

His friend, a 43-year-old man, suffered hand and stomach injuries. He has since been discharged from hospital.

Image caption Harlow's MP said the attack had left members of the Polish community feeling "incredibly scared and upset"

Det Ch Insp Martin Pasmore told BBC Essex: "The widespread media are reporting this as a hate crime, but that is no more than one line of many inquiries that we're following.

"We must not jump to conclusions - let us do the investigation and get the facts right."

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said the killing would be "all the more disturbing and shocking" if the attack was motivated by Mr Jozwik's nationality.

In a statement published on Twitter, the Polish Embassy said it had been "shocked" by Mr Jozwik's death, and was liaising with Essex Police.

Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki visited The Stow, where the attack happened, to lay flowers, telling reporters his country and the UK must show solidarity in the wake of the death.

"We are shocked but we are also thankful for local support since the attack," Mr Rzegocki said.

Five 15-year-old boys and one 16-year-old boy, all from Harlow, were arrested on suspicion of murder. All but one 15-year-old have been bailed.

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