A florist known as a ‘local legend’ was ‘randomly stabbed in the back by a young kid who didn’t look back,’ his friend has claimed.
Tony Eastlake, 55, died in Islington, North London, after being attacked just before 5.30pm on Saturday.
Tributes have been paid to Tony who ran a flower stall near Essex Road station for roughly 40 years and was known as a “friendly man and a local legend.”
On the day of the incident, he left his stall and is thought to have been on his way to dinner with his friend, who lives a few hundred metres down the road, when he was stabbed.
His friend Mark Kennedy told My London that Tony was “randomly stabbed in the back by a ‘young kid’ who didn’t look back”.
The stabbing happened outside Mark’s house and he ran out with another of Tony’s friends, Shannon.
The pair were with Tony when he died.
When the ambulance arrived, medics did their best to save him, even conducting “open heart surgery in the street,” according to Mark.
Remembering his friend, Mark said: “He was one of the most placid men. Never been in a fight, never been arrested.”
Shannon said he was a “lovely, amazing friend.”
Tony Laws, who worked with Tony years ago in a fruit shop and has been a good friend since, said: “Not a bad bone in his body. Such a smashing guy a lovely lovely guy.”
Local residents gathered around his flower stall this morning, bringing bouquets of flowers, lighting candles and writing messages on his stall.
The resounding sentiment was that Tony was a kind and generous man and a key member of the community who will be sorely missed.
Locals recalled walking past Tony every day and being greeted with a smile.
Even those who had just passed him by and never spoken to him had warm memories.
He was known to be incredibly trusting, and would let people come back another day to pay if they didn’t have the money.
Other residents remember buying their Christmas trees from Tony and always seeing him chatting with someone.
One woman said: “We’ve lost a legend of Essex Road.”
Katie, 75, who has known Tony since he was a boy helping his father at the stall, which he took over when he was 16, said: “It brings home all the knife crime.
“So far it’s been over there… you don’t know the people. But now… It’s awful. Unspeakable.”
Police have launched a murder investigation into the case.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall, leading the investigation, 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.
“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 out investigation.
“I am particularly keen to hear from people who were in Halliford Road or Ecclesbourne Road between 17:20hrs and 17:25hrs. Did you see Tony? Or did you witness an altercation, or see anyone running away?
“I would also like to appeal to people within this area, including residential blocks and houses between Ecclesbourne Road, Halliford Street and Essex Road who may have private CCTV.
“I would very much like to hear from delivery drivers and owners of cars with dash cams who were travelling through the area at the time of the incident. You may have captured significant footage that we need to recover as soon as possible.
“Lastly, I would like to hear from those within the community who may have information about why this murder has taken place.
“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.”
A post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.
At this early stage of the investigation, there have been no arrests.