'Loving family man' Laurent Volpe knifed to death in random attack

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Tributes were today paid to a father-of-two who was fatally stabbed in an apparently random attack outside his local shops.

Laurent Volpe, 49, an engineer who recently moved to London from France with his wife and their children, was described as “a loving family man with a brilliant mind”.

Witnesses said he was walking home after a trip to the Co-op in Eltham, when he was attacked and stabbed at just before 7pm on Friday. A murder hunt was launched following his death in hospital on Monday evening.

The killing happened less than 500 yards from the spot where teenager Stephen Lawrence was fatally stabbed in 1993.

A neighbour said Mr Volpe, who was staying in London temporarily on a house swap, was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

He said: “It was a shock. You don’t know what to think or what to say or what to do. You don’t think it’s going to happen. I think it’s just bad luck. It’s so sad.”

A manager at the Co-op in Well Hall Road, a two-minute walk from the terraced house where Mr Volpe was living, said staff had gone to help after hearing shouts.

Another neighbour said: “There was no motivation whatsoever, just a random attack, it’s unbelievable.”

A friend described him as “a wonderful man who was very honest and open”. 

Detectives have launched an appeal to trace a woman who told officers at the scene that she had been threatened by the suspect.

Detective Chief Inspector Jamie Piscopo said the woman was black, tall, around 30 and wearing a long, floral-patterned cardigan.

He said: “She may have vital evidence that could assist this investigation.”

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call 020 8345 3715 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Nicholas Foye, 38, is due to appear at Bromley Magistrates Court today charged with murder.

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