'It shouldn't have happened' - friend of Islington man after fatal attack
- Credit: Polly Hancock/The Family
Crowds gathered to honour "flower man of Islington" Tony Eastlake on Monday (May 31), at a vigil near Essex Road station.
Tony Eastlake, 55, died from a knife wound after being attacked on Saturday (May 29) just before 5.30pm.
Two days later, a crowd of family, friends, customers, passers-by and neighbours gathered at his flower stall where he had worked since he was 14.
Friend Jody Graber told well wishers at the vigil: “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 Mr Eastlake was known by everyone in the community, including those who just passed by on the bus, and he was a good friend.
Mr Graber, who recently stood as an independent council candidate in the St Peter's ward by-election, led a chorus of “there’s only one Tony Eastlake” before the crowd released blue balloons into the warm evening sky.
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Tony Burke, who lives nearby recalled the flower man refusing to let him pay for flowers for his father's funeral: “He was such a lovely man. He was not just the flower man of Islington, he was a friend. I will miss him terribly.
The Metropolitan Police said witnesses recalled seeing Mr Eastlake in “an altercation” with another man before the assault.
In a statement, his 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."
Leader of Islington Council Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “We are appalled and devastated by his tragic murder, and our heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this difficult time."
A post-mortem examination is due to take place in the coming days. No arrests have been made.
Police are keen to hear from anyone in Halliford Road or Ecclesbourne Road between 5.20pm and 5.25pm on May 29 who may have seen what happened or anyone running away from the scene.
They also urged drivers with dashcams and residents with private CCTV to contact police or check their footage.
Anyone with information can call 101 quoting reference CAD 5562/29May, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.