A 29-year-old man stabbed to death in the west London street where Jill Dando was murdered was a “good guy” and keen basketball player, friends have said.
Detectives launched a murder inquiry after the man was fatally knifed at the junction of Gowan Avenue and Munster Road in Fulham in the early hours of Saturday.
He has been named locally as Nathaniel and described by one friend as a “big friendly giant” who lived on a street roughly 100 metres away.
Neighbours said they heard an argument unfold at about 12.30am before police and paramedics arrived at the scene.
The friend, who gave his name as George, 30, said he went to Southampton University with Nathaniel, who then moved back to the area to find work.
Speaking near the victim’s home, he said: “We don’t know how this happened.
“He’s got a lot of friends who live local to here. He was well-known in the local area.
“Everyone in the area would have know him from basketball.”
Nathaniel went to Hurlingham School, in Fulham, then Kingston College before studying engineering at university, George said.
He added: “He was super friendly, a BFG. He looked super scary – six foot seven, big beard – but super friendly. It would shock you how friendly he was.”
Another friend, who visited the cordon on Saturday morning, said: “It’s still processing, he was a good guy, he was a big man, 29, you don’t do silly things like this, knife crimes.”
The man, who asked not to be named, said he was not aware of similar violent incidents in the largely quiet residential area but added: “There might have been a stabbing in this area, don’t get me wrong, but they are normally with kids, not people our age.
“Even if there was a little problem it should not have led to this.”
The MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands, said he has thanked a resident who tried to save the victim’s life.
“Have thanked the local Fulham man who gave CPR to the victim in the fatal stabbing last night. A hero – and the group of girls from New Zealand (ironically) who helped too. A traumatic experience for all of them, but we thank them,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Metropolitan Police said it was called “to reports of a fight in progress” by ambulance crews and arrived on the scene at about 12.27am.
The victim was found with stab wounds and died at the scene at 12.56am despite attempts by paramedics and members of the public to save his life.
A white forensic tent remained at the scene on Saturday morning and several police officers stood guard at the cordon.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard an argument but not very loud screams, not a violent argument, no tussling and then they just wandered off.
“I heard no screams at all, you expect a fight and a scream but there was not really any of that, just loud voices.”
Police said officers were in contact with the victim’s family and no arrests had been made.
DCI Glen Lloyd, who is leading the inquiry, said: “This murder investigation continues apace. Police work at the crime scene is ongoing. Active enquiries are in hand.
“We are appealing for information from those who were out and about in the area at the time of the attack and saw anything of note.
“My team is particularly keen to trace a light-skinned black male, approximately 6ft tall, who was seen near the scene at the time of the incident.
“Did you see him? Do you know who he is? Anyone with information on his identity or whereabouts is urged to contact police.”
TV presenter Ms Dando was 37 when she was shot in the head on the doorstep of her home in Gowan Avenue on April 26 1999.