The family of a loving dad who was stabbed to death after intervening in a fight yesterday said he was “always the first to help others”.
Solicitor Peter Duncan, 52, is thought to have been killed with a screwdriver after he tried to stop a gang row on his way home from work. Bystanders saw him fall down clutching his chest.
The youths are known to police. One allegedly said Peter “had it coming”.
Peter is said to have just left his office five minutes away when he was attacked outside Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle. He was on his way to his home three miles outside the city.
Shopkeeper Muhammad Ali, 37, said: “The man was arguing with the gang, they tried to hit him. It looked like [he] was trying to get in the middle of a row.”
Witness Louis Almeida works at Wagamama restaurant nearby. He saw a row among a group of youths and a girl minutes before the attack on Wednesday evening.
He said: “I saw a couple arguing. She turned around to one of the guys in the group, and said, ‘You can’t do that’. The girl got hit. It looked like she got knocked out at first, but she got straight back up.”
Stephen Humphries, 34, a waiter a nearby Pizza Express said: “The young lads were saying, ‘he was going to get it’, and ‘it was coming to him’.”
Police and paramedics raced to Peter’s aid, but he was pronounced dead in hospital. His family said: “Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help others. He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. He’ll be deeply missed.”
Yesterday, forensic teams scoured the city for evidence. Officers arrested seven males – one age 14, two age 15, and four age 17 – on suspicion of murder.
Northumbria Police Area Commander, Chief Supt Ged Noble, said: “The persons involved are known to us.” He added: “It appears to have been a chance encounter between the victim and the offender, which led to an unprovoked attack.
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“We believe the weapon to have been a screwdriver.”
It came as a plan by Home Secretary Priti Patel to put anti-knife crime messages on fried chicken boxes was branded “offensive” by Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
Knife crime in England and Wales is at a record high, with 43,000 offences last year.
- The family of Yousef Makki, 17, have called for increased sentences for the teens jailed in connection with his fatal stabbing in March in Hale Barnes, Gtr Manchester. One boy of 17 was detained for 16 months and another for four.