TRIBUTES have been paid to the “lovely and popular” man decapitated in a horrific attack in his Bournemouth flat.

Sergio Retamar Marquez was living in the town and working as a waiter at the Britannia Hotel in Meyrick Road on the East Cliff.

The 23-year-old was killed in a two-bedroom flat above Downes Wine Bar at Lansdowne Mews in Lansdowne Road. His body was discovered by a group of women just before 5pm on Tuesday.

His uncle Miguel Marquez Torres flew to England to identify his nephew’s body and begin the process of repatriating his nephew’s body.

An inquest into Mr Marquez’s death was opened and adjourned yesterday afternoon at Bournemouth Coroners’ Court.

The inquest heard that a post mortem examination carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Basil Purdue found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the chest, pending toxicology and histology reports.

A full inquest will be heard at a later date.

Mr Marquez was from the southern Spanish town of Coin, which is home to 22,000 people and is 30km from Malaga province.

News of Mr Marquez’s death has been met with shock by the many people he knew in Bournemouth.

Staff at the Britannia Hotel were too upset to talk yesterday but one chef, who asked not to be named, told the Daily Echo: “His name was Sergio, he was Spanish, a waiter and had been here a couple of months. The friend he lived with called the hotel to let them know.”

Mr Marquez had previously been a student at the United World School of English in St Peter’s Road in Bournemouth.

He arrived at the school in August last year to study general English and spent two months on the course.

His studies were cut short when he suffered a bike accident the following month and had to return to Spain for treatment.

Mr Marquez had only been back in England for a month before he was killed.

Fellow language school pupil Javier Espinel said news had travelled to him in Columbia where he now lives. He said: “Now I find this unfortunate tragedy. RIP Sergio.”

Before his bike crash, Mr Marquez worked as a waiter at the Savoy Hotel, in West Hill Road, for around six months.

Deputy manager Jeanne Rimes remembered a popular man who never got into trouble, turned up late or missed a day’s work.

“He was just a lovely boy,” she said.

“People who worked with him will be so distressed to know what happened.

“He was very popular with the guests, he was quite a quiet, shy guy but with the guests he was chatty and lovely all the time, always very polite.”

Staff had been “disgusted” by the murder before learning it was Sergio, she added.

“He was just genuine, reliable, trustworthy and a very helpful man.”

David Jones, chair of the International Education Forum (IEF) of Bournemouth and Poole said: “We are shocked to learn about this incident and our thoughts are with the victim, his friends and relatives at this time.”