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James Peppiatt charged with Tony Eastlake’s murder in Islington

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A 21-year-old man has today been charged with the murder of flower seller Tony Eastlake, who was stabbed to death just yards from his stall in north London over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

The 55-year-old, whose loved ones applauded in his honour at a vigil earlier this week, was attacked on Essex Road, Islington on Saturday at around 5.30pm and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scotland Yard said James Peppiatt of Canonbury has been charged with murder, and he has been remanded in custody to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court tomorrow. Detectives investigating the killing previously said they believe the suspect and the victim knew each other.

Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall, leading the investigation for the Metropolitan Police, had asked anyone with information to come forward and check CCTV or dashcam footage.

In a statement, she said: ‘Our dedicated team of officers have worked tirelessly since Saturday evening to identify the person suspected of the murder of Tony Eastlake. 

‘I hope this brings some reassurance to the community after what was an incredibly traumatic and unsettling incident that has cost the life of a well loved and respected man. 

A 21-year-old man has today been charged with the murder of flower seller Tony Eastlake, who was stabbed to death just yards from his stall in north London over the Bank Holiday weekend 

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London organised by the Islington Community Group

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London organised by the Islington Community Group

Tony Eastlake's daughter Paige Eastlake with his partner Lisa Maggs at a vigil at his stall

Tony Eastlake’s daughter Paige Eastlake with his partner Lisa Maggs at a vigil at his stall

Tony Eastlake's daughter Paige at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station organised by the Islington Community Group

Tony Eastlake’s daughter Paige at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station organised by the Islington Community Group

The 55-year-old, whose loved ones applauded in his honour at a vigil earlier this week, was attacked on Essex Road, Islington on Saturday at around 5.30pm and was pronounced dead at the scene

The 55-year-old, whose loved ones applauded in his honour at a vigil earlier this week, was attacked on Essex Road, Islington on Saturday at around 5.30pm and was pronounced dead at the scene

‘I can confirm that this attack is not believed to have occurred as a result of a robbery. We continue to appeal to anyone who might have seen anything to please come forward to police.

‘If you live within this area or were driving through, please check your CCTV and dashcam footage for anything which might help the investigation. No piece of information is insignificant.’

Mr Eastlake’s family described him as a ‘very special man’ who was ‘loved by everybody’ in the community.

At a vigil held in his honour on Monday, Paige Eastlake, his daughter, said in an emotional speech: ‘It was not only my dad, it was my twin, it was my best friend and this is what’s going to get me through this? All of you here today. I’m speechless so thank you all.’

A crowd of family, friends, customers, passers-by and neighbours had gathered for the vigil at the flower stall near Essex Road station, where he had worked 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.’

People at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

People at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Tony Eastlake's daughter Paige Eastlake at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station

Tony Eastlake’s daughter Paige Eastlake at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station

Tony Eastlake's dog Ralph, a pug aged 15, at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station

Tony Eastlake’s dog Ralph, a pug aged 15, at a vigil at his stall at Essex Road Station

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Family and friends hold a vigil and pay tribute to flower seller Tony Eastlake

Family and friends hold a vigil and pay tribute to flower seller Tony Eastlake

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 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’.

Mr Graber led 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.’

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.

Family and friends hold a vigil and pay tribute to flower seller Tony Eastlake in Essex Road

Family and friends hold a vigil and pay tribute to flower seller Tony Eastlake in Essex Road

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Candles at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

Candles at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London

‘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.

‘There have already been hundreds of messages of support for him from all those who knew and loved him over the years.

‘We ask you now please for your support in helping us to find the person or people who did this to our family – who took away a life so violently and unnecessarily.

‘If you have any information at all we beg you to please come forward so we can get justice for Tony and his family.’

Many locals paid tribute to Mr Eastlake on the Islington Community Group on Facebook. Francis O’Brien said: ‘Such sad news, my thoughts are with Tony’s family and loved ones.

‘Tony had a kind heart, served our community for a number of years and always put a smile on the faces of people across Islington. He was not just a local businessman, but a friend to many.’

Andres Paniagua Toro said: ‘What a very sad day, the community has lost a great human being who helped many people daily with his beautiful smile and willingness to listen to their woes.

‘Tony would always make me smile every morning on my way to work.’

Elsa Smurthwate posted: ‘How very very tragic. RIP fella, a true islingtonian and a man who also had time to smile and say hello. Him and his stall have literally been one of the few things that stood the test of time x. I hope the council would consider his stall to be left as a shrine in his memory.’

Garry Clowes said: ‘God rest Tony, always enjoyed pulling up for a chat and a cuppa. London’s slowly being crushed.’

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