Police investigating the murder of the ‘Flower man of Islington’ have arrested a woman for perverting the course of justice and assisting an offender, as the suspected killer appeared in court for the first time today.
James Peppiatt, 21, is accused of killing Tony Eastlake, 55, who was stabbed close to his stall on Essex Road in the north London borough on Saturday afternoon.
It was revealed earlier that the 21-year-old suspect – who was remanded in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court this morning – is the son of the victim’s former girlfriend.
Tony, who had run his flower stall for over 30 years and was widely known in the area, is understood to have been dating the accused killer’s mother earlier this year.
That woman, Alicia Callaghan, 43, was found dead at another Islington address on April 1.
It’s unclear how she died but it’s understood there were no suspicious circumstances.
Meanwhile, police confirmed today that a 48-year-old woman, accused of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice, had been arrested.
She was taken into custody at a police station in north London yesterday for questioning, before being released on bail to return to police in mid-June.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall, leading the investigation, described the arrest as a ‘significant development’ and appealed for anyone with information about the killing to come forward.
James Peppiatt, 21, is accused of killing Tony Eastlake, 55, who was stabbed close to his stall on Essex Road in Islington
Tony, who had run his flower stall for over 30 years and was widely known in the area, is understood to have been dating the accused killer’s mother earlier this year
She said: ‘This is a significant development and our dedicated team of officers continue to work to bring justice to the victim, Tony, and his family.
‘I continue to appeal for any information and witnesses to the incident, in particular a number of cyclists and a scooter passing through Ecclesborne Road at the time of the attack.
‘I urge these people to come forward as the information they hold may be vital.’
Ms Callaghan was found at 1.08am in the property and an inquest has been opened and adjourned – with a full hearing due later this summer.
It’s understood Mr Eastlake had been in a relationship with Ms Callaghan in the weeks before her death.
Peppiatt, who had lived with his mother in Elmore Street, Islington, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today.
The suspect blew a kiss to his father and shouted ‘I love you’ and smiled and winked as he was led away after a brief court appearance this morning.
The defendant, who wore a face mask, confirmed his name, address and date of birth.
His barrister Nick Ferrarri made no application for bail and the suspect was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday.
A man, identified as Peppiatt’s father, shouted ‘stay strong, boy!’ as he was led away to the cells following the two-minute hearing.
A vigil was held in Tony’s honour outside the stall on Monday attended by friends, family and loved ones, including his daughter Paige Eastlake who called the flower seller ‘my twin’ and ‘my best friend’.
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.
‘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.’
Tony Eastlake’s daughter Paige Eastlake with his partner Lisa Maggs at a vigil at his stall
Tributes at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London organised by the Islington Community Group
People at a vigil for Tony Eastlake at his stall at Essex Road Station in London
Meanwhile, 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.’