Thugs swung metal poles and shouted abuse at a girl, 17, before stabbing her father to death when he tried to defend her, according to neighbours.
Two boys, both 14, have been arrested after father-of-three Jamie Markham, 45, was knifed on his doorstep in Chingford, east London, on Monday night while protecting his daughter Chloe.
Tributes have now been paid to Mr Markham – who friends say had a ‘good heart and soul’.
Neighbours say they spotted a teenage girl, who was wearing a grey vest top and leggings, being ‘annoyed’ by a group of boys she was with as it started raining heavily on Monday evening.
One said she appeared to ‘pull a face’ and went to fetch her father, Mr Markham, who had just finished walking the family’s pet dog. He then confronted the group of boys and was brutally stabbed, police say.
His heartbroken wife, Candice, was apparently heard screaming when she found the ‘kind family man’ fatally wounded outside their home.
Candice said: ‘The boys were walking around with metal poles. They were swinging them and shouting at my daughter. It’s just disgusting. It’s not the first time – you see them walking around and smashing bottles in the street.’
On Wednesday, a 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of his murder and a second boy, also 14, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
Tributes have now been left to Mr Markham and a family friend, who was tearful as she approached the scene of the stabbing today and did not want to be named, said: ‘He was my friend, my neighbour. He was kind, a lovely man, a worker.
‘He would wake up at 5am, come back 6pm, doing the daily routine with the kids, always with the kids.’
She added: ‘We are devastated for Jamie. He was kind, a good person, someone who will always be there for you.
‘Anything that you need, he’ll always be there, fixing anything that you need from the house. He was always working. He was a very good person, a man with a good heart, a good soul, he didn’t deserve that.’
Jamie Markham, 45, (middle) was knifed in Chingford, east London, by thugs who were reportedly swinging metal poles and shouting abuse at his daughter Chloe, 17
Despite the efforts of London Ambulance Service, the father-of-three was pronounced dead at the scene in Chingford Mount
A murder investigation is underway after a man was stabbed to death at the mount in Chingford on Monday evening
Bouquets of flowers and a card were laid in a parking area on Churchill Terrace, where the incident happened and where one police officer remained patrolling on Thursday.
A note with one bouquet read: ‘Thinking of you all. You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Much love. 37th Chingford Scout Group xx.’
Detective Inspector John Marriott, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘We believe that James confronted a group of youths causing a disturbance and was stabbed as a result.
‘The brutality of this response is beyond shocking and our thoughts are with James’ family who have been left devastated by their loss.
‘The arrests of these two individuals is a significant development but we still need the public’s help to build a full picture of exactly what happened on Monday evening.
‘I know that there were a number of people present at the time of the murder. I want them to come forward.
‘I also believe there will be parents who know that their child was there, or was involved. I am appealing for them to do the sensible thing and get in touch with us.
‘A dedicated team of officers is working to piece together the tragic circumstances that led to this murder and to bring those responsible to justice.’
Despite the efforts of London Ambulance Service, Mr Markham was pronounced dead at the scene in Chingford Mount.
The area has now been cordoned off by police and detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command have launched a murder inquiry.
It came as bouquets of flowers were today left in tribute to the father, whose death has left the local community in shock.
A neighbour said ‘the entire street could hear the screams’ of Mr Markham’s partner when he died.
Mr Markham’s wife Candice (left with daughter Chloe) said she found the ‘kind family man’ fatally wounded outside their home
Neighbours have claimed Jamie Markham came out of his flat to defend his daughter
A man, who was sat in his car at the time, said he saw a group of eight or nine teenage boys ‘run up and down’ the street, but did not see the stabbing.
He said: ‘I saw hooligans running up and down this way and that way.
‘The police have got my dash cam because I was sitting in the car at the time.
‘It was hammering down so you couldn’t hear much of anything.
‘I was shocked, especially seeing police doing CPR on him. I didn’t realise who it even was until later.’
His partner, who also declined to be named, said: ‘He was a family guy.
‘He never bothered us, he just got on, and kept himself to himself and walked the dogs.
‘He would come out of his place and be peacefully on his own. A day or two ago I saw him with his son chatting away.
‘Yesterday everyone was just shell-shocked.’
She added: ‘It’s just heartbreaking when you think of it. His life is gone. Whoever done it, they’ve ruined the partner’s life, the kids’ life.
‘He was the breadwinner of the family. It gets me that people think this is acceptable. People think that it’s normal. I just think what do their family think they do when they get out and about?’
Alice McGill, 78, said she had spoken to neighbours about what happened.
The area has now been cordoned off by police and detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command have launched a murder inquiry
She said: ‘All I know is that this girl was hanging out with these boys, one of them said something silly.
‘She then went to go and get her father and her father came out and he died.
‘It’s a tragedy because this young girl is going to have to live with that for the rest of her life.
‘It’s not her fault. This girl was a proper daddy’s girl – the poor, poor girl.’
Kerrie-Ann Lambert, 32, a mum of three, said: ‘I was on my way back from the shops when I saw a large group of teenage boys and one girl wearing leggings and a grey vest top.
‘It started really chucking it down and I was looking at the girl and I thought, ‘wow you’re going to get pneumonia’.
‘There were loads of boys. There was one girl. It looked like a herd.
‘I thought, should I offer her a jacket? I wish I had intervened.
‘I thought it was a bit weird because it was one girl with a bunch of boys. I kept an eye on her for 10 minutes because I thought is she happy, is she safe with them? Is she being picked on by them?
‘She seemed fine to me at first, but then I think one of the boys said something to her and she pulled a face. She looked like she’d been annoyed and she wanted to go home or something, but I’m not too sure.’
‘I went home because it started chucking it down and I had to get dinner on.
‘Later I just heard those screams. We all felt distraught and knew someone must have passed away.
‘One of the police officers said that people can’t come out this way because they’re operating on him now.’
Ms Lambert added: ‘I’m very upset about it. All he was doing was protecting his daughter.
‘These boys thought they were big people and decided to play God.
‘I’ve moved here to get away from all of this, it’s ridiculous. I let my kids play where there’s a swing.
‘I’m worried they might see something. It’s traumatic. I know no one is going to stab a nine year old or a 10-year-old.
‘But it’s disgusting. I feel really sorry for that lady and that family. Someone woke up with no dad yesterday.’
‘I hope that person feels sorry for what they’ve done.
‘One day you’re going to have a daughter and someone is going to say something crap to her, and you’re going to know what it’s like to want to defend her. It’s horrible. I really do hope the police find this person because they deserve to be put away.’
The Met Police said officers were called at 6.20pm on Monday night to reports of a disturbance in Churchill Terrace, Chingford.
They found Mr Markham there suffering with stab wounds but paramedics were unable to save him. His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specially trained officers.
Detective Inspector John Marriott, said: ‘A dedicated team of officers are working to piece together the tragic circumstances that led to this man losing his life.
‘The thoughts of all of us are with his family and friends as they come to terms with their loss.
‘We have already spoken to a number of key witnesses and recovered CCTV from the area, although I would like to hear from anyone else who witnessed the attack, or a disturbance beforehand.’
Chief Superintendent Richard Tucker, responsible for local policing in Waltham Forest, said: ‘The Met remains committed to tackling violence across London and I would like to reassure the community that we will do everything we can to track down those responsible for this attack.
‘I understand the concern this incident will cause and I would like to reassure residents that you will continue to see additional officers in the area over the coming days.
‘I would urge you to speak with them about any concerns you have.’