A man who stabbed to death a popular flower seller in North London in a “needless and senseless” attack has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years.
Mr Eastlake had separated from his long-term partner in 2018 and begun a relationship with Peppiatt’s mother Alisha Callaghan.
Ms Callaghan took her own life in April 2021, which caused a rift between Peppiatt, then 21, and Mr Eastlake, the court was told.
On May 29 2021, Mr Eastlake had been working on his flower stall on Essex Road in Islington and after packing up at around 5.15pm, met Peppiatt in the street where a fight broke out between them.
Mr Eastlake walked away but Peppiatt followed him with a knife and stabbed him in the back, in what the Metropolitan Police called an act of “revenge”.
Peppiatt, 23, who was found guilty of murder after a trial at the Old Bailey, had no “lawful or legitimate reason” for possessing the knife, Judge Richard Marks KC said while sentencing him on Thursday.
(Mr Eastlake) was extremely well known in the area and was a hugely popular local figure. He was known as the flower man of Islington. I am told that hundreds attended his funeral and a later vigil
Judge Richard Marks KC
The judge, speaking about Mr Eastlake, said: “He had a flower stall in Islington where he had worked for the whole of his life, from a very young age.
“He was extremely well known in the area and was a hugely popular local figure.
“He was known as the flower man of Islington. I am told that hundreds attended his funeral and a later vigil.
“I heard this afternoon in profoundly moving terms from his daughter and his sister.
“They were present throughout the trial and remain utterly broken-hearted by his needless and senseless death.”
The victim’s daughter Paige Eastlake told the court her father’s death had broken her family.
She went on: “We all get one life and I would never have thought that I could end up here, in a courtroom.
“My best friend, my dad, my whole world is now gone.”
Teresa McLaren, Mr Eastlake’s sister, told the court that a part of her was “missing” but had drawn strength from learning how much her brother meant to the Islington community.
The judge told Peppiatt: “Albeit you had a knife on you, the stabbing was not premeditated.
“This is amply borne out by the fact that you didn’t use it in the first fight, but only in the second confrontation, by which time your blood was well and truly up.”
Dean George KC, defending, said the killing stemmed from “loss and grief on both sides”.
He went on: “This is a young man of good character, he was from a young age a boy bringing up his mum.”
Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Grogan said: “I know the impact Tony Eastlake’s murder had on the community. He was a well-known figure in Islington and very popular. He had lived in Islington all his life and had run a flower stall on Essex Road for over 40 years.
“His family have been devastated by this senseless crime and they have had to endure a long wait for justice. My thoughts are very much with them.
“We may never know why Peppiatt placed the blame for his mother’s death at the feet of Mr Eastlake, but violence can never be an acceptable answer. Peppiatt’s extreme response to his perceived grievance was to result in Mr Eastlake losing his life and Peppiatt has rightfully been held responsible for his terrible actions.”