A dad-of-four was stabbed to death after he interrupted a family barbecue to help his neighbour being attacked by a group of teens.
James Gibbons, 34, had been celebrating his twin daughters’ birthday at home on an estate known as ‘Alcatraz’ in Laindon, Essex, when a neighbour got into a row with a group of youths over noise.
Mr Gibbons, a self-employed plumber, went out to support his neighbour, but got into an altercation with the group and was stabbed. He died at the scene, despite the efforts of paramedics.
Police have since arrested three boys and two girls aged between 13 and 16 in connection with the killing. Residents of the area claimed a gang of youths had been roaming the estate in the weeks leading up to Mr Gibbons’ death on Sunday.
Today Mr Gibbons, known to friends as ‘Gibbo’, was described as an ‘amazing father of four young children, engaged to his partner of 11 years, and […] a loving and supportive son and brother’.
In a statement, his family said: ‘James was a hard-working family-orientated man, who ran his own bathroom fitting company and was looking forward to a positive future for him and his family.
‘This tragedy occurred after he had spent the day celebrating his two-year-old twin girls’ birthday at home and we are absolutely broken beyond belief at this pointless loss which has had a devastating effect on us all.
‘James was the kind of person who would always be prepared to help anyone less fortunate than himself, which is what he was doing on Sunday night.
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‘As a family we are urging anyone to come forward with any information that may help the police as they investigate James’ death in the hope we can get justice.’
Friends of Mr Gibbons have paid also tribute to him online, describing him as one of the ‘kindest and most lovely’ people they’d ever met.
One person wrote: ‘Gibbo, you really was one in a million. I can’t believe you are gone I will cherish the memories… you have been taken from us far too soon, but may you rest in eternal peace. Love ya Gibbo.’
Another wrote: ‘Where to start m8, so wounded I won’t get to share another laugh with you. U really were one of the kindest + most lovely persons I’ve ever met.
‘U will be sadly missed but forever in our hearts + minds. Going to miss you so much on our nights out [sic].’
Detective chief inspector Stephen Jennings confirmed the investigation into Mr Gibbons’ death was at its ‘early stages’.
He told BBC Essex: ‘We believe the victim was coming to the aid of another man who was in the area and was attacked by one or more of the youths which appears to have cost him his life.
‘We’re really keen to hear from anyone that was in that area, may have seen something happen, or even just heard in the local area what could have taken place and who could have been involved.’
Anyone who witnessed the incident, has footage of what led to it or any information is asked to contact Essex Police cite incident 1292 of May 2.
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