Family pays tribute to 'amazing' Bexhill mum as St Leonards man is jailed for her murder

The sister of a Bexhill woman murdered by her St Leonards boyfriend has remembered her as an 'amazing mum, daughter, sister, auntie and friend'.

In a statement, Emma Hanks said her sister Kayleigh was her 'soul mate and best friend'.

Kayleigh was found dead in her London Road, Bexhill, flat in the early hours of July 21, 2019. The cause of her death was found to be strangulation.

Following a two week trial, her partner Ian Paton, 36, of Snowdrop Rise, St Leonards, was found guilty of murdering her in front of their seven-month-old daughter and jailed for a minimum of 17 years.

READ MORE: St Leonards man guilty of murdering his Bexhill girlfriend
St Leonards man jailed for murdering Bexhill girlfriend
Outside court, Katie Clack, a liaison officer with Sussex Police read a statement from Emma, on behalf of Kayleigh's family.

She said: "Kayleigh was a kind, thoughtful loving person that would do anything for anyone.

"She was an amazing mum, daughter, sister, auntie and friend. Living without her will be the hardest thing we will ever have to do; she will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts.

"She wasn't just a sister to me; she was my soul mate and best friend.

"Myself, my mum and our family would like to thank everyone who has helped us through this difficult time, the support has been incredible.

"We would also like to thank all the police officers involved in this case because without them, we don't know where we would be, they have all been amazing. But most of all we would like to thank our family liaison officers from the bottom of our hearts; they have helped us through this traumatic, horrible time in our lives and no amount of words would ever be enough in our eyes to repay them.

"They are a credit to Sussex Police and wonderful individuals.

"We feel that justice has been done for Kayleigh and her daughter."