Man, 21, charged with murder after ‘loveliest flower man’ stabbed to death

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A man has been charged with the murder of a popular flower seller in north London, police said.

James Peppiatt, 21, will appear at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court on Thursday.

Tony Eastlake, 55, was killed in Islington on Saturday.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police were called to Essex Road at around 5:30pm.

Paramedics also raced to the scene but Tony was tragically pronounced dead a short time later.

In a statement, the force said: “James Peppiatt, 21 of Elmore Street, N1 was charged with the murder on Wednesday, 2 June.”

A vigil was held for Tony on May 31, where locals described him as the “loveliest man”.

Applause rang out as well-wishers chanted “there’s only one Tony Eastlake”.

Family, friends, customers, and neighbours gathered for the vigil, which was held at the flower stall where he had worked since he was 14.

The event was led by friend Jody Graber, who told the crowd: “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.

To gentle laughter Mr Graber recalled that Tony once refused to sell a bunch of flowers to a customer on Valentine’s Day because he thought the occasion was a “con”.

Tony Burke, who lives near to the Essex Road stall, 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.”

In a statement released by police, 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.

“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.”

Detectives from the Specialist Crime Command continue to investigate the incident.