Neighbours pay tribute to “music-mad” John Ball, found dead in his Islington flat

Fire crews attended Canalside Square, as well as an adjoining block, three times on April 3 after ne

Fire crews attended Canalside Square, as well as an adjoining block, three times on April 3 after neighbours complained of smoke. But the source of the fire wasn't located. John Ball was found dead the next day - Credit: Archant

Neighbours today paid tribute to a “music-mad” 60-year-old man found dead in his Islington flat after a fire.

The “rocker”, named locally as John Ball, was found at his fire-damaged Canalside Square home at about 3.20pm on Monday. When they broke in they discovered there had been a fire – but it is not known when or how it started. The blaze was already out when police arrived.

Neighbours raised the alarm after being unable to contact him, having last seen him on Friday.

Mr Ball’s neighbour Mary, who declined to give her surname, said he had lived alone in the flat for about two years.

“When a neighbour came down and told me I couldn’t believe it,” she told the Gazette. “We don’t really know what happened. When I went up to his flat I could see the remnants of smoke but no one had heard anything.

“I last saw him on Friday when he came to walk the dog with me,” she added. “He walked me to the canal then toddled off home.”

Another neighbour, Gary, who also declined to give his surname, grew up with Mr Ball on the Packington Estate.

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Gary described his childhoos friend as “quiet” but “music-mad”.

“All he ever sang was ‘Hey Jude’,” he said. “You would hear him coming down the street.”

Mary added: “He will be missed – he was such a character.

“He looked like a rocker with black hair and a woolly hat, a bit like Russell Brand.”

Mr Ball’s death is being treated as unexplained. Police and fire chiefs are investigating.

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