Tributes to Norwich crash victim

David BaleTributes have been paid to a 32-year-old man who died after his car hit a tree less than half a mile from the house he shared with his father.David Bale

Tributes have been paid to a 32-year-old man who died after his car hit a tree less than half a mile from the house he shared with his father.

Lee Howard was coming home after playing pool for Norwich's Boundary pub team, when his red Volvo left the road in the early hours of yesterday morning.

He received fatal injuries as a result of the crash, which happened at about 12.20am in Bowthorpe Road, close to the junction with Earlham Green Lane.

Mr Howard, who lived with his father Robert Howard, 59, in Rydal Close, West Earlham, had worked at the Archant Print Centre at Thorpe St Andrew for three years as a post press casual operative, helping to get newspapers, including The Evening News and Eastern Daily Press, and supplements ready for distribution.

His father said: 'He was a very nice person to know and was a loving son. He would do whatever you asked him to do.

'He did not deserve what happened to him. The only good thing, I think, is that it would have been an instant death. He would not have suffered for long.'

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Mr Howard said his son, who was unmarried, loved heavy-metal music and his horror films, and had an 11ft-long collection of CDs and DVDs at the house they shared.

He added: 'His favourite bands were Iron Maiden and Guns 'n' Roses. He loved his job. He had been out of work for a long time, and I helped him with money when he was looking for work.

'He said he was now paying me back for all the time I had helped him with money. He was generous to a fault.'

Mr Howard, a cleaning supervisor at the UEA, said his son would also be deeply mourned by his grandmother, who will be 80 next week, his 88-year-old grandfather, his half-sister Lynn Dubois and his three nephews, whom he loved.

Lee's mother Rita died in January last year from hereditary myotonic dystrophy.

Meanwhile, work colleagues have also paid tribute to the former Earlham High School pupil they said would be 'sadly missed'.

James Gooderham, from jobs agency, The Personnel People in All Saints Green, Norwich, said: 'Lee has been working through us at Archant Print, Thorpe St Andrew as a long term post press operative.

'Lee was a very reliable, honest and hardworking individual who could always be counted on. He will be sadly missed by everyone at The Personnel People.'

Adam Sayer, Post Press and Distribution Production manager at the Archant Print Centre, said people were in shock at his death.

He said: 'Everybody got on well with Lee and he mixed socially with a lot of the lads. He was an easy-going nice guy with a fine sense of humour.

'As a colleague he was flexible and 100pc reliable. He was always ready to lend a hand to help us meet our deadlines, and he will be really missed.'

Derek Nicol, team leader at Post Press and Distribution Production, said it was a terrible shock.

He said: 'He was a genuinely nice bloke and so easy-going. He was very professional and a nice gentle man.'

Fellow worker Martin Verran added: 'I started working with Lee at Archant two years ago and always found him a pleasure to work with. He was a conscientious and supportive staff member, always ready with a smile and a happy word, and an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of heavy metal. He will be missed.'

Mr Howard said a post-mortem examination would be carried out tomorrow, but he had been told by police that the crash investigation could take several months. No date for the funeral has yet been set.

Anyone with information about the crash or the manner of driving prior to the accident should contact the Serious Collision Investigation Team on 0845 456 4567.