Man, 21, denies murder of much-loved flower seller who was stabbed in the back

Man, 21, denies murder of much-loved flower seller who was stabbed in the back

James Peppiatt is accused of murdering the ‘flower man of Islington’ Tony Eastlake, who was found fatally stabbed near to his flower stall in London earlier this year. He had reportedly collapsed after receiving a single knife wound to the back

A man has denied the murder of a well-known flower seller.

Tony Eastlake, 55, who was known to his customers in north London as “the flower man of Islington,” was found dead near his flower stall just before 5.30pm on May 29 this year.

It is alleged he was fatally stabbed after an “altercation.” It is understood Mr Eastlake collapsed and died after receiving a single blow to the back with a knife.

James Peppiatt, 21, is charged with his murder.

Mr Eastlake had been in a relationship with Mr Peppiatt’s late mother, Alicia Callaghan, before she died in April, a barrister told an earlier court hearing.

The popular flower seller had his stall by Essex Road station for nearly 40 years, since he was 14-years-old.

In a statement after his death, Mr Eastlake’s family said: “Our hearts are broken forever at the loss of 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.”

During an emotional vigil held earlier this year in memory of her father, Paige said: “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.”

Mr Peppiatt was arrested two days after the death of Mr Eastlake and charged soon after.

He appeared at the Old Bailey on Monday, September 13.

Mr Peppiatt denied the killing when he appeared by video link from Belmarsh Prison for the 15-minute hearing.

The court was told he will stand trial for murder at the Old Bailey on July 18 next year – over a year since Mr Eastlake died.

Members of Mr Eastlake’s family were present in court as Mr Peppiatt entered his plea.