Tuesday, 22 May 2012

It’s not a hate crime when it’s black on white.

Best friends: Ricci Whiteside, 25 and Luke Fitzpatrick, 25, pictured at The Ox and Gate Pub moments before he was stabbed to death

London Evening Standard: A father suffered massive internal knife injuries when he threw himself over his son to shield him from a gang who were stabbing him to death in the street.

Luke Fitzpatrick, 25, was killed by men armed with bats and knives after they dragged him out of the Ox and Gate pub in Dollis Hill. Terrified drinkers threw chairs at them to try to save him.

His father Bernard, 56, was stabbed four times when he used himself as a human shield. One of the wounds punctured his liver. It is believed the attack came after a row in a nearby shop which did not involve Luke.

His best friend, Ricci Whiteside, 25, said: “A group of black guys arrived at the door of the pub with bats and knives and they were looking for someone. People were throwing chairs at the door to stop them coming in. They got Luke and dragged him outside. They were pulling him up the road. His dad was running after them. But by the time he got to Luke he was already on the floor. Bernie threw himself on top of Luke. He was trying to protect him, but it was too late.”

Luke’s aunt Tess Fitzpatrick said: “The men who came for Luke were like a pack of wolves. My brother ran after them. He covered him with his body, but they had stabbed Luke all over.”

Ms Fitzpatrick said she had spent yesterday at the bedside of her brother. Last night more than 100 friends and family gathered outside the pub in Oxgate Lane.

Friends and family described Luke, a roofer who was single, as a big-hearted hard-worker who was well known in the community.

Luke had been watching the Champions League final on Saturday with friends. Mr Whiteside, who was with him all evening, added: “There was an argument in the shop opposite the pub at half-time. Luke wasn’t anything to do with it, but we all heard that something had gone on.” He said the gang struck after the game ended.

Luke’s mother Constance, 56, was in Majorca with her other son Ryan, 21. She flew back to London yesterday. A relative at their home which is yards from the pub said: “She has just come back and she is grieving. She is terribly upset.” Three people were arrested, including two 17-year-olds who were being questioned in custody today.

A tent was in place this morning at the murder scene which remained cordoned off. Detective Chief Inspector Tim Duffield said: “We need to hear from anyone who was in or near the Ox and Gate around 11.30pm that evening.” Witnesses should call the incident room on 020 8358 0400 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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