EXCLUSIVE: Emotional tributes paid to death crash biker

HOR 290611 Scene of RTC A272 west of Cowfold. photo by derek martin

HOR 290611 Scene of RTC A272 west of Cowfold. photo by derek martin

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A BIKER who died in a tragic crash near Cowfold has been described as ‘warm, caring and honest’ by a friend and former housemate.

Antonio D’Alessio, known as Tony, was involved in the smash on the eastbound A272.

The 46-year-old, riding his Ducati 738 motorcycle, was in collision with a silver coloured Ford Transit van with signing on the sides, and left the road, hitting a signpost and dying shortly afterwards.

The van didn’t stop at the scene but was swiftly traced by police and the driver, a 49-year-old Haywards Heath man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He was released on police bail until September 18.

Nick Hassell lived in Highlands Road, Horsham with Mr D’Alessio in the mid 80s.

He paid a heartfelt tribute to him on the County Times’ website saying: “So sad to read this. Tony lodged with me in Horsham for a few years in the mid 80s. Nothing was ever to much for him. The world has lost a warm, caring, honest guy. My heart goes out to Jane and his children.”

He also told the paper: “After my divorce in 1984, I needed some extra income to help towards the mortgage. I put an ad in the County Times for a lodger.

“Tony was not the first person to view the flat, but I immediately took to him and offered him the room.

“He lodged with me for three years, until he met and decided to set up home with Jane and I met my second wife Della.

“During that time we often went out clubbing or going to gigs together. He certainly became more of a friend, than a lodger. We, me and my second wife Della, kept in touch with Tony and attended his wedding to Jane. After that we seemed to go our own ways and hadn’t been in contact since the birth of their second child.

“We both thought he was a lovely bloke and send our condolences.”

Another tribute on the paper’s website read: “Such a great guy who loved his wife and kids so much. Rip Tony, prayers are with you.”

Floral tributes and messages have been left at the scene. One from Nicole described him as a ‘lovely man’.

Mr D’Alessio, of Gatehouse Lane, Burgess Hill, was involved in the crash at 9.35pm on Wednesday last week.

Police are trying to trace a dark coloured saloon car driven by a woman which may have been driving in front of the van from the junction with the A24 along the A272. There is believed to have been a passenger but officers don’t have descriptions. They would also like to hear from anyone who saw two motorcycles being ridden north up the A281 towards Cowfold just before the collision. Call 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Northleigh.