Tearful mourners gather at vigil for 'murdered' Tony Eastlake after flower seller stabbed by his stall

MOURNERS have gathered at a vigil for a flower seller who was stabbed to death by his stall.

Tony Eastlake, 55, was knifed to death in broad daylight in Islington, North London, on Saturday evening.








The Met was scrambled to a stabbing at 5.27pm and paramedics battled to save Mr Eastlake, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

This evening, family, friends, customers, passers-by and neighbours gathered to pay their respects to Mr Eastlake at a vigil close to his stall.

They gave loud applause broke for the victim who was fondly known as the "flower man of Islington".

The popular flower seller had manned his stall next to Essex Road Station for 39 years since he was 14.

The applause was led by friend Jody Graber, who told wellwishers: "This has been a massive trauma for our community. It should not have happened.

"This is for Tony Eastlake – the loveliest man who could sell you a bunch of flowers."

He said that Mr Eastlake was known by everyone in the community, including those who just passed by on the bus, and he was a good pal.

Mr Graber recalled how Mr Eastlake once refused to sell a bunch of flowers to a customer on Valentine's Day because he thought the occasion was a "con".





Those at the vigil sang a chorus of "there's only one Tony Eastlake" before the crowd released blue balloons into the warm evening sky.

Tony Burke, who lives nearby, said: "He was such a lovely man. He was not just the flower man of Islington, he was a friend. I will miss him terribly.

"He would not let me pay for the flowers for my father's funeral. I had to force him to take the money. He worked at that stall for 40 years. He always had a smile for everyone."

Witnesses reported seeing Mr Eastlake in an altercation with another man before he was fatally stabbed.

STAB HORROR

A friend revealed how he watched in horror as Mr Eastlake was "knifed in the back as they walked to dinner" by a cruel killer who "didn't look back."

Mark Kennedy reportedly saw a "young kid" stabbing his pal, My London reports.

He was with Mr Eastlake, who he had grown up, when he died.

In a statement, his heartbroken family said: "Our hearts are broken forever at the loss of such a very special man.

"A man who was loved by everybody in the Islington community, who is remembered as kind and caring and always laughing.

Our hearts are broken forever at the loss of such a very special man

"But most importantly a father who leaves behind a devastated family, Lisa, Pauline, and his only daughter and best friend Paige, who he adored.

"Tony worked on the flower stall on Essex Road since he was 14 years old and was there through rain or shine, a smiling and friendly face to so many of us."

Tony Laws, who had previously worked with Mr Eastlake, said there was, "not a bad bone in his body.

"Such a smashing guy, a lovely, lovely guy."

'LOVED AND RESPECTED'

Officers from the Met's Specialist Crime Command have launched a murder investigation.

Det Ch Insp Vicky Tunstall, said: "Tony was a well-known, loved and respected member of the community.

"He had worked on and owned the flower stall on Essex Road for the last 39 years and was someone of considerable standing within the local area."

She added: "We have a dedicated team of officers working around the clock to find the person or people responsible and I would like to hear from anybody who could help our investigation.

"I am particularly keen to hear from people who were in Halliford Road or Ecclesbourne Road between 5.20pm and 5.25pm.

"Did you see Tony? Or did you witness an altercation, or see anyone running away?"

COPS SEEK CCTV

Ms Tunstall said cops were particularly keen to hear from people living in the houses and flats between Ecclesbourne Road, Halliford Road and Essex Road who may have private CCTV.

She also urged drivers with dashcams who may have been in the area to check their footage.

"Lastly, I would like to hear from those within the community who may have information about why this murder has taken place," she added.

"We are looking at several possible motives and I am keeping an open mind as to the circumstances behind the attack.

"Information given to police will be treated in the strictest confidence."

Tony Eastlake’s family pays tribute to the “flower man of Islington”.

In a statement, Tony's family said: "Our hearts are broken forever at the loss of such a very special man.

"A man who was loved by everybody in the Islington community, who is remembered as kind and caring and always laughing, but most importantly, a father who leaves behind a devastated family, Lisa, Pauline, and his only daughter and best friend Paige, who he adored.

"Tony worked on the flower stall on Essex Road since he was 14 years old and was there through rain or shine, a smiling and friendly face to so many of us."

Mr Eastlake's family have called on anyone who might have information to speak to police.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place in the coming days. No arrests have been made.

Local residents with CCTV and drivers with dashcam were asked to contact police.

A GoFundme page has been set up to raise money for Mr Eastlake's funeral.


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