A father-of-four was stabbed to death after he spent the day celebrating his two-year-old twin daughters’ birthday, leaving his family “absolutely broken beyond belief at this pointless loss”.
Essex Police said that 34-year-old James Gibbons died soon after he was attacked in the street where he lived in Laindon at about 9.30pm on Sunday.
The self-employed plumber is believed to have gone to the aid of another man, then died in an altercation that ensued with a group of young people, the force said.
Five teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murder, and two have since been bailed, one until May 25 and the other until May 28.
Mr Gibbons, of Iris Mews, was described by his family 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 released through police, they 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.
“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.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Jennings, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said inquiries had led police to believe that Mr Gibbons was “going to the aid of another man and, as a result, he lost his life during an altercation which ensued with a group of young people not directly known to him”.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, has footage of what led to it or has information on it is asked to submit a report online at www.essex.police.uk or call 101 and cite incident 1292 of May 2.
Information can also be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.