A MAN is in court charged with the murder of a flower seller who was dating his mother.
Tony Eastlake, 55, known as the "flower man of Islington" by customers died from a knife wound after being attacked on Essex Road in Islington just before 5.30pm on May 29.
James Peppiatt, 21, appeared at the Old Bailey today by video-link from HMP Wormwood Scrubs, where he sat wearing a grey prison tracksuit top with his hands clasped on the table.
He spoke quietly to identify himself during the brief hearing.
Julian Evans, prosecuting, said: "Mr Eastlake was a florist who worked on a flower stall opposite Essex Road station for 40 years.
"He was a very well known member of the local community.
"He separated from his wife in 2018 and in due course he began a relationship with Alicia Callaghan, the defendant's mother.
"In due course Mr Eastlake moved into her address in Elmore Street, N1.
"On 1st April this year Ms Callaghan took her own life, that had a great impact upon the defendant, it also had a great impact on the victim.
"On the day the victim was working on the flower stall he finished at about 5pm."
The pair are said to have met and exchanged blows in an 'altercation' which left Peppiatt with a face injury, the court heard.
Moments later they clashed again on Halliford Street and Peppiatt allegedly stabbed Mr Eastlake, inflicting a fatal injury to the victim's aorta.
Peppiatt, of Elmore Street, faces one charge of murder.
He was remanded in custody ahead of a plea and trial preparation hearing on 23 August.
A vigil to remember Tony, the "loved and respected man", was held last Monday.
His heartbroken daughter Paige paid tribute to her "best friend" at the emotional event.
She 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."
The popular flower seller had manned the stall next to Essex Road Station for 39 years, since he was 14.
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."
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