Tributes paid to much loved East Ham pensioner

East Ham MP Stephen Timms has paid a glowing tribute to Vethanayagam Anthonypillai

East Ham MP Stephen Timms has paid a glowing tribute to Vethanayagam Anthonypillai - Credit: Archant

Friends and family have paid tributes to a popular restaurant owner found dead at his home.

Much-loved Vethanayagam ‘Tony’ Anthonypillai, who ran Udaya restaurant in Katherine Road, East Ham, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was found by police and paramedics at his home in Burges Road on Thursday of last week.

A post-mortem at East Ham mortuary the next day revealed the 68-year-old had died from head and neck injuries.

Mr Anthonypillai’s son Christy, 34, said: “He was a wonderful father and a very hard worker. We are going to miss him very much.”

In a statement, the family said: “Vethanayagam Anthonypillai was the foundation this family was built upon – the roots to our tree.

“He absorbed and anchored his family without compromise, bearing everything to protect his loved ones.”

East Ham MP Stephen Timms said his friend, who had a Phd in pharmacology, had lived in Newham since being forced to flee from Sri Lanka in the late 1980s.

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He was joined later by his wife, Gladys, and their two sons.

Mr Timms said: “Tony was an exceptionally kind and generous man, with time for everyone and a ready wit.

“He was an active member of St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, East Ham. I shall always think of him with affection and gratitude.”

He said he and his wife had asked Tony and Gladys – the cook at Udaya – to cater for their silver wedding celebration in 2011.

A 27-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken to an east London police station. He was later “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act and was taken to a secure psychiatric facility for assessment.

Anyone with information should call police on 020 8345 3734 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111