“A BIG man with a big heart.” That’s how Stephan Hollow has been described by members of his family, who are struggling to come to terms with his violent death.

David Hollow, one of Mr Hollow’s sons, was in court when the jury convicted William Smith of manslaughter, but cleared him of murder, after 14 hours of deliberation.

The 32-year-old, of Sandys Road, South Ham, said the Hollow family were disappointed that the jury had returned a not guilty verdict on the murder charge – which Smith had denied – and they were also unhappy with Smith’s 10-year jail sentence.

Mr Hollow told The Gazette: “This was to be my closure and it’s not, being only 10 years. If it was 25, then that might have been closure for me.

“I just miss dad more than anything in the world, and so do my brothers and sisters and his family and sisters. It’s hit them really hard.

“I’m trying to stay strong for everyone because I feel I’m the man of the family now.”

Stephan Hollow had a large family, including eight children and 13 grandchildren. His funeral, which took place in St Michael’s Church, in Church Square, was attended by more than 200 mourners.

Tributes included a poem written by Mr Hollow’s brother Mason, who wrote: “This is not a goodbye, I will see you all again one day/When you look into your heart, I will never be far away.”

David Hollow told The Gazette that his father, a mechanic, was a “Del Boy” character who wanted to live the high life.

He said: “He was a big man with a big heart, and if he walked into a room he always came in with a smile.”

After the verdicts were delivered, prosecutor William Mousley read out a victim impact statement by Maureen Clayton, Mr Hollow’s mother.

It read: “I was especially fortunate to have Stephan in my life. During that time, I would never have imagined that I would be attending his funeral. He should have attended mine.”