Tributes paid to tragic teen

THE grandmother of an 18-year-old who died after he was punched in the head has paid emotional tribute to her 'gentle giant'.

A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested in connection with the death of a teenager who was trying to protect a female friend when he was punched in the head.

Dominic Barritt suffered severe injuries in the unprovoked attack, which happened in Walton-on-the-Naze in the early hours of Saturday.

Yesterday the 18-year-old was described by his family as a “gentle giant” - while it also emerged he has given the gift of life to five other people because his organs were donated following his tragic death.

And last night Essex police confirmed they have arrested a 22-year-old man from East London in connection with the attack, outside the Food and Drink Store in High Street.

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However a spokesman said they were unable to say what the man had been arrested for.

Dominic underwent emergency treatment at a specialist hospital for head injuries following the assault - at just after 2am on Saturday - but died with his mother at his bedside on Monday.

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His grandmother Carol Barritt said the loss of her trainee builder grandson, who she and husband Ronald, 54, raised at their home in Little Clacton, had “destroyed” them.

Mrs Barritt, 61, said: “He had true respect for women, he was a true gentleman, and that's what killed him.

“He got punched in the head because he was standing in front of a girl to protect her - he was helping her just like he's done before.

“The other time he was stamped on the head as he tried to protect another girl. We tried to make him report it but he was worried about reprisals.

“We tried to make him into a true gentleman and now we know that we succeeded.”

Mrs Barritt added: “He saved five people's lives with his organs. He wanted every part to be taken, the only thing I didn't let them take was his corneas.

“I'm proud that out of tragedy five other people have been given the gift of life. He carried a donor card and put it on his driving licence too so that we knew his wishes.

She continued: “He was a lovely boy, I can't tell you how much he will be missed, he was a special young man. We are absolutely devastated.

“He couldn't do enough for us. He was 6ft 2ins and was a real gentle giant. His grandfather is in a wheelchair because of MS and Dominic would pick him up if he fell over and would lift him into the chair. His grandfather is distraught, we all are.”

She urged his attacker to turn himself in, saying: “The message is to his parents. How can this boy's parents be so uncaring as to have raised a vicious, nasty person? I hope their conscience is hurting as much as our grief.

“We have some special memories of Dom but the memories aren't long enough. He was only 18.

“We have worked so hard, financially, physically and emotionally to mould him into a decent man and that's been taken away.”

Friends and family have also left a row of floral tributes along the pavement where the teenager was attacked.

Among the cards is a touching tribute saying simply: “Such a waste of young life.”

Another moving tribute said: “Dear Dom, you have no idea the amount of jokes we've been having these last few days talking about our memories with you and it makes me happy to know you'll see many more while looking down on us. I'm going to miss you bruv, love Tank xxxxxx”

One other friend wrote: "He brought happiness to so many people and will be very missed by everyone who loved him. Forever in my heart, Rachel T xxx."

Police said yesterday that they were pleased with the response for information from the public and had “a very good idea of who we are looking for”.

A post mortem examination was due to take place last night to establish the exact cause of Dominic's death.

The teenager, who wanted a career in construction, was initially treated at Colchester General Hospital before being transferred to Queen's Hospital in Romford where he died.

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