Friends and family pay tribute to the ‘gentle giant’ who turned round his life

FRIENDS and family of a Wisbech man who collapsed and died whilst on a night out have spoken of the “gentle giant” who had turned round his life on his release from prison.

Richard Warden, 34, died in the early hours of last Thursday at Chicago’s night spot in Kings Lynn where he was out celebrating his fianc� Sarah’s birthday.

He was due to marry her on November 5. They have a daughter Grace, who is just under six months old. He was also step-father to Sarah’s son Vinnie, aged four.

“All he ever wanted was a baby,” said Sarah. “He loved Grace dearly.”

Richard and Sarah worked together in March and Wisbech running burger vans, a business they began this year.

“He had just booked our honeymoon as a surprise,” she said. “And he was so excited about Grace being born that he never left the hospital.

“Yes, he was an ex-con, but Richard had reformed his life. He was a gentle giant. He was lovely and had settled down. We were banking our money and were going to get a mortgage. He was so happy.”

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The couple were in the club when there was an altercation on the dance floor and doormen got hold of him. Sarah said Richard wanted to go outside because he was getting hot and struggled free of them. While heading to the door the bouncers got hold of him again and Richard dropped down dead. The post mortem results will be released tomorrow.

Richard’s dad Barry said:” Let’s face it we all did wrong, and got long sentences. But Richard had turned his life round and was doing well.

“He had a girl friend, a baby and although he weighed 17 stone was not fat. He went to the gym every day and was a fit as a fiddle.”

A family friend said she had known Richard since the time he was born and “he had paid the price for what he did. After coming out from prison he was a changed man.”

She said it would be “a terrible shame” if people kept bringing up his past without recognising what he had started to achieve.

In 2005 Richard Warden was one of a number of family members and friends jailed for their role in a major drugs ring. Richard was among those sentenced to 10 years for their part in the crime.

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