A father-of-three who was stabbed to death earlier this week is believed to have been defending his daughter before being attacked.
James Markham, 45, was fatally stabbed after confronting a group of youths on a London street on Monday night, according to police.
Two 14-year-old boys have since been arrested in connection with his murder, the Metropolian Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Officers were called to Churchill Terrace in Chingford, northeast London, following reports of a disturbance at around 6:20 p.m. local time on Monday evening.
Arriving deputies found Markham seriously injured with a stab wound to the chest. Despite the best efforts of emergency services and other members of the public, the 45-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We believe that James confronted a group of youths causing a disturbance and was stabbed as a result,” said Detective Inspector John Marriott, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said. “The brutality of this response is beyond shocking and our thoughts are with James’ family who have been left devastated by their loss.”
Police have since asked for the public’s help “to build a full picture of exactly what happened” on Monday evening and have urged those present at the scene to come forward.
Markham’s wife said the father-of-three came out of his home to defend their daughter from the group when he was set upon and stabbed by one of the boys.
“The boys were walking around with metal poles. They were swinging them and shouting at my daughter,” Markham’s wife Candice told The Mirror. “It’s just disgusting. It’s not the first time—you see them walking around and smashing bottles in the street … Just doing what they like, there’s no police.”
In a separate interview with the Evening Standard newspaper, she said: “They had metal poles, walking around with them. It’s absolutely devastating. I’ve lost the heart of the family.”
Neighbors described Markham as a “kind, family man.”
“He was a quiet family man with three kids who kept himself to himself,” neighbor Susan White told My London. “It was devastating hearing his wife screaming like that last night.”
Another neighbor, Sandra Green added: “He was no trouble at all, just got on with everything and was a kind, family man. We’re all in shock, you assume it’s teenagers who get involved in this but when it’s a family man you just can’t believe it.”
A post-mortem examination found Markham died of a stab wound to the lung.
Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command have launched a murder investigation and said they will be speaking to witnesses and examining CCTV footage.