A friend of 20-year-old Jamie Gilbey has described how he always had everyone laughing and spent years volunteering with the homeless. The Crystal Palace man was reported missing on January 27, but police have since launched a murder enquiry after a body was tragically found.
Kathy, who did not want to be further identified, described how Jamie was a fun and much-loved young man. A fellow volunteer with a Redington homeless charity, she told MyLondon he had “so many positives” and “always had us laughing”. She described his cheeky personality and great love of animals, adding that he was “vulnerable” and had some learning difficulties.
When Jamie disappeared he was wanted by the Metropolitan Police in connection with armed robbery offences. Kathy told MyLondon : “It was a total shock. It hadn’t even been mentioned. I would never have expected that.”
READ MORE: Jamie Gilbey murder suspect refuses to attend court as police continue search South Norwood park
Jamie volunteered with the homeless for several years
She said he should have received more support to protect him. She criticised the way his death has been reported: “It’s all negative, and there are so many positives about Jamie.” She added: “He did have learning difficulties and I felt he was really vulnerable. He should have been more supported. I don’t know why that didn’t happen. And even the photograph that is being displayed, it’s not how I remember him.
“He always had us laughing. That’s our favourite memory.”
Over a month after Jamie first went missing, confirmed they had discovered a body in woodland close to South Norwood Lake on March 8, after diving teams had been looking in the water. The identity of the body is yet to be confirmed but Jamie’s family have been notified. Police launched a murder enquiry earlier after finding “suspicious items” in South Norwood Park.
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Jamie’s family has been notified and is being supported by specialist officers. A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Kathy said: “I’m devastated. He was very cheeky. He was fun, he was good company. Very straight-talking as well.”
Jamie and Kathy met through volunteering with a homeless charity that ran for 30 years until it had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kathy said Jamie began volunteering aged 15 when he was still in secondary school.
Police on the scene where a body was found in the search for Jamie
(Image: David Nathan)
“He took the time to go to the homeless. Other young boys would want to do something else. But he was consistently there every Thursday at half six on the dot. Sometimes even earlier,” she said.
The volunteers would drive to parts of London in a minibus and Jamie would keep everyone laughing. She said: “Jamie would sit up front with the driver, so he had a good bond with the other volunteers.
” He was very funny and he had a good sense of humour. He had a good connection with the homeless, he used to banter with them.”
Kathy added that he had a large group of friends and family who are all heartbroken by his loss.
In addition to volunteering alongside Kathy, Jamie also helped out at Crystal Palace Park’s farm in Upper Norwood. Kathy said: “He cared a lot about animals. He was very thoughtful and caring.”
Do you have memories of Jamie Gilbey you’d like to share? Email [email protected] .
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