NORTH LONDON, UK – A gang of 20 hooded youths stormed a pub after the Champions League final before dragging away a 25-year old man and stabbing him to death in scenes ‘like a horror film’, friends said today.
‘True gent’ Luke Fitzpatrick was killed and his father Bernard, who threw himself on top of his son in a desperate attempt to shield him, remains in a critical condition in hospital after being stabbed four times.
The pair were attacked when a gang armed with bats and knives stormed the north London pub after father and son had watched Chelsea win the cup together at on Saturday.
A forensic tent remained at the scene of the tragedy just yards from the pub near his Dollis Hill home.
Friend Katy McKeon, 22, who has known him growing up, said: ‘Luke was one of the nicest guys around, always looking after people, he actually cared about people, a really nice, funny guy.
‘The amount of flowers that are here just shows how loved he was, this has ruined this community.
‘I was there on Saturday and it was like something out of a horror film.
‘There were about 20 young black guys all with their hoods up armed with sticks and bats and knives. They just ran in the pub and started trying to attack people.
‘It was really frightening. But it should not have happened to Luke, it shouldn’t have happened to anyone, but he was a complete innocent.’
His mother Constance, 56, and brother Ryan, 21, were in Majorca and had to rush home.
Bernard, 56, is out of intensive care and has mumbled a few words but is not fully conscious, Miss McKeon said.
She added: ‘He was just watching the football, but it had nothing to do with the game – Luke was an Arsenal fan.
‘Everyone in the pub knows each other, we all grew up together, we are a really close community.
‘It was such a good atmosphere in the pub then within a minute it was changed by a minority just looking for trouble.
‘A couple of them had tried to start an argument with someone in the shop about two hours before this happened, but it was nothing to do with Luke.
‘Then they rounded all their mates up and stormed the pub. I didn’t see exactly what happened to Luke, but at 17 why have they got knives? It is disgusting. He was a true gent.’
Three people including two 17-year-olds were arrested and have since been bailed. Today a fourth man remained in custody after being arrested an address in Wembley yesterday.
The gang of youths often hung around the shops where the argument took place and three weeks ago an elderly man had been punched in the face as he got off a bus, she said.
Luke’s best friend, Ricci Whiteside, 25, said: ‘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.
‘A group of black guys arrived at the door of the pub with bats and knives and they were looking for someone who had been outside the shop earlier.
‘People were throwing chairs at the door to try and stop them from coming in.
‘There was a lot of confusion. 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.”
Tess Fitzpatrick, Bernard’s sister, said: ‘The men who came for Luke were like a pack of wolves. My brother ran after them as they were dragging Luke up the street.
‘He covered him with his body, but they had already stabbed Luke all over.’
Pal of the roofer Michael O’Rourke, 25, added: ‘There is not one person who would say one bad word about him, he was one of the most loved people here.
‘He had never done a bad thing in his life but he can’t even go to the pub with his dad and have a pint without getting murdered. Luke was just the nicest guy you could imagine, an absolute gent.
‘Bad things happen to good people. None of the scum bags who did this could ever live up to our friend. It is heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking.’