Tributes paid in St Albans to ‘gentle giant’ musician and referee

The family of slain prison officer, Nick Medlin, formerly of St Albans, have paid tribute to him.

The family of slain prison officer, Nick Medlin, formerly of St Albans, have paid tribute to him. - Credit: Photo supplied by Hampshire Police

The shocking suspected murder of a prison officer on Christmas Day has left his family heartbroken and his many friends in St Albans devastated.

Nick Medlin, formerly of Park Street, died following an assault outside the Rose Inn pub in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight.

Among those stunned at his death is Peter Fisher, of St Albans, who said: “With all the stars we lost in 2016, he was one of them.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Police said that detectives investigating the 57-year-old’s death early on the morning of December 25 have charged a 32-year-old man with manslaughter.

Michael John Hudson, of no fixed address, was remanded to appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, December 29.

Two men aged 31 and 26 who were arrested on suspicion of murder have been bailed until April 11, pending further police enquiries.

Nick’s family have released a brief statement: “We are completely devastated and totally heartbroken by the tragic death of Nick on Christmas Eve.

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“The family wishes to thank everyone for their kind tributes and ask for privacy to grieve at this very sad time.”

Nick was well known and respected throughout St Albans district, where he lived until moving to the island in 2014 to forge a new career as a prison officer at HMP Isle of Wight.

Apart from being a respected football referee, Nick was also a keen musician, playing in many bands on bass guitar.

Peter Fisher described his friend as a ‘gentle giant’ and a respected referee from about 2008-2014, including for the Herts Advertiser Sunday Football League. Apart from his love of the sport, Nick’s children’s involvement in local football prompted him to take up refereeing.

A ‘shocked’ Peter recalled: “We had a running joke, that he would supply the coffee and I would supply the Hobnobs biscuits at half time.

“You couldn’t have met a nicer bloke. He became a prison officer because it was a challenge for him – he’d been running his own company, and he said he was going down to the Isle of Wight for a change.”

Peter said that a minute’s silence would be held prior to local fixtures on Sunday, “as a mark of respect for the great man. Our thoughts are with his family.”

In 2011, Nick played at the Bandstand in Clarence Park at Sounds Familiar - a showcase of blues, jazz and glam-pop - as a bassist for The Defamers, a band performing regularly in London and the south east.

Gary Pearce, part of another band, The Vulz, said he first met Nick in London, in the 1970s: “Our friendship dates back to when we were all punks together. I think he was living in a squat in Marylebone.”

Nick joined The Vulz as the band was seeking a bass player, with Gary explaining: “We toured around London. He was good, and over the decades that he was playing, he kept getting better.”

Gary added: “He was just one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. When Nick said he was going to become a prison officer, we laughed because he was soppy.

“I’m in absolute shock about his death. He would encourage me, and always pushed me further musically.”

Gary said that Nick’s move to the Isle of Wight was the result of his love for island life, as he and his family had enjoyed many holidays there.

Apart from playing in punk band ‘Manufactured Romance’ from 1979-82, Nick also played bass in ‘The Boys’ – part of the first wave of the mid-1970s UK punk explosion - during the band’s German tour of 2014, and features in the group’s ‘Punk Rock Girl’ video recorded in Berlin the same year.

On Boxing Day, guitarist and singer Honest John Plain of The Boys said: “I have just heard about the death of Nick Medlin and am shocked, stunned and extremely upset by the news. Nick was one of the nicest guys anyone could ever meet. My heart goes out to Nick’s lovely wife Dani and all his family.”

The 100 Club in London is hosting tributes to the prison officer and musician tomorrow, with Nina Spencer, Manufactured Romance’s singer, flying from America to join The Boys’ support band, The Vulz, onstage.