A RETIRED firefighter has been charged with beating his adopted son to death.
Dad-of-one Shaun McSweeny, 24, was found in the back of a car with head injuries in Evelyn Street, near Deptford Wharf shortly before 3am last Friday morning and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination determined he was killed following a blunt force to the head.
Police, who responded to a call saying a man was trying to put a body in the Thames, said Shaun was killed in Thornton Heath.
Retired firefighter Colin McSweeny, 58, of Parry Road, South Norwood, appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday charged with his adopted son's murder.
He has been remanded in custody and a provisional date for his trial was set for June 1 with a plea and case management hearing due on February 10.
A woman in Thornton Heath – who the Advertiser understands to be Shaun's adoptive mother – was also arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder and has been released on bail to return to a south London police station in the middle of December.
Shocked friends of Shaun, who worked for Autoglass, paid tribute to the single father outside Bromley Magistrates' Court on Saturday last week, just hours after finding out the news of his killing.
A friend who had known Shaun for five years, but asked not to be named, said: "He was a top bloke who had raised a little one almost by himself. He was just the nicest bloke you could ever meet and he was always up for a laugh."
Shaun, who went to All Saints CofE Primary School, in Upper Beulah Hill, and studied construction at Croydon College, won a custody battle for his daughter Ruby, 5, a few years ago.
It is believed they both lived with his adoptive parents and Shaun had a girlfriend, Laura Stacey O'Donnell.
Shaun's brother also paid tribute to him on Facebook, saying: "I love you so much bruv wish I had seen and spent more time with my little brother.
"I miss you more than anything in the world and was looking forward to seeing you on the 6th.
"You are always in our hearts always and forever you will never be forgotten. I'm glad my little boy is named after you we miss you loads and I can't wait until we are all together again."
Ms O' Donnell has changed the profile picture on her Facebook page – which includes photos from the couple's recent first family holiday with Ruby to Spain – to a photo of Shaun.
Friends have expressed their sympathy, with Victoria Barnard saying: "I can't even imagine how you are feeling but want you to know you have support whenever you need it."