Family of man killed by friend on Marsh estate pay tribute to him

Victim John Houston.
Victim John Houston.
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The family of a man who was killed after an attack by a friend in his home have paid tribute to him.

John Houston, 41, of Laburnum Street, Lancaster, sadly died after friend Kieran Cuffe punched him twice during a verbal altercation at his house.

He was found deceased by his sister in his bedroom on Monday April 5, two days after he was last seen.

Following the sentencing of Kieran Cuffe, who received four years and eight months in jail for manslaughter, John Houston’s family paid tribute to him.

They said: “John will be sadly missed by his entire family, he was a popular person which was shown when over a hundred people attended his funeral to show their respect for him.

We are only a small family and were overwhelmed by this show of support that has come from people. John loved having his family around him, always close to his mum, his sister Amanda, his brother James and he enjoyed being an uncle.

“We were shocked at how many people attended his funeral, and would just like to thank everyone for their kind words, flowers, cards and donations.”

Margaret Love, John Houston’s mother continued: “My son John was a kind, loyal and clever person who went to Marsh Primary School and the Lancaster Grammar School. He was a quiet lad who loved sport and played football for his local team, along with his younger brother where they were taught discipline and respect from an early age.

“He was an intelligent man whose nickname was NASA at Grammar School, picking up his surname ‘Houston’; as in ‘Houston we have a problem’.

“John was very close to his family and was always ready to be the uncle and let his nieces put clips in his hair or makeup on him. He loved to just make them happy. He taught his niece to play chess and was very patient until she got the hang of it, and spent time with his nephew to teach him how to use weights and a punch bag properly to keep fit and avoid injury.

“He was complex in character but he was a good person, gentle natured and peaceful. He didn’t want a complicated life; he just wanted to live peacefully with his family close by.

“John was diagnosed with bipolar and found it difficult to come to terms with all the ups and downs that it caused him to have. He said that people who disregarded mental health should walk a day in his shoes. John fought every day to be the best person he could be with what life had thrown at him and hoped that the good days would get more and the bad days less, and there were lots of good times. So for his life to be taken in this way is tragic.

“The devastating memory of how John died has changed my whole family. We just miss him and always will.”

Amanda McLeary, John’s sister added: “As a very young girl and boy moving to a new life in a new city made me and John very, very close. We spent all of our time together. We were like two peas in a pod. We were each other’s first friend and we stayed friends right through to adults. I always felt a true overwhelming love for my little brother. As a big sister I felt it was my job to make sure he was OK.

“John was a kind man; he would give you his last pound. He helped a lot of his friends. He was kind, intelligent, funny, gentle, caring, understanding, loyal but also a little lonely. His bi-polar stopped him fulfilling his dreams, it made him lack confidence around strangers and so this stopped him meeting new people. He battled every single day for the last ten years to overcome his bi-polar.

“I am not sure if people will understand the depth of love I had for my brother but the day I found him dead in his bedroom was the most horrific, scary, traumatic and sad day of my entire 43 years of being alive. My heart actually broke that day.

“I can’t believe I will never see my Johns smile or hear his calming voice helping me to understand this cruel world.”

John’s niece Chelsea Howard also said: “My earliest memories of my uncle John are when me and my brother Stephen used to sleep over at his house every week. John would take us to the shop and let us choose snacks for us to share whilst watching our favourite films.

“John was an incredibly intelligent person. He would help me with my maths and science homework when I was in school. He made me feel like it was okay to be one of the smart kids and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to want to work hard and do well.

“He was also a loving and kind Uncle. He spent a lot of time with us and I hugely enjoyed the time I spent with him. He had a great sense of humour and liked to have a good old laugh. He had a very distinctive laugh, I’ll really miss hearing it. I’ll miss lots of things about him.”