'I just felt totally deflated' - anger as second memorial to Norwich murder victim ripped down
PUBLISHED: 16:34 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:52 31 July 2019
The friend of a man who was stabbed to death in Norwich has described his anguish after a second memorial to the victim was ripped down.
David Hastings, 48, suffered 13 stab wounds, including a fatal one to the heart, following an attack by stranger Rolands Heinbergs as he walked away from Norwich's Rose Lane car park with his girlfriend in the early hours of June 23 last year.
Heinbergs, 23, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 28 years in prison after a jury took less than an hour to convict the Latvian of murder following a trial last month.
Mr Hastings, from Long Row in Norwich, had been sleeping rough in the months prior to his death, and would often be found sleeping nestled in the undergrowth along the city's Riverside Walk, in a spot called 'Dave's Cave'.
Michael Peck, 43, and Ron Fox, 53, two members of Mr Hastings' close circle of friends on the streets, created a memorial to remember the father of two - which was put up on a tree next to the river just before the anniversary of his death.
That memorial, which included the phrases "Friends we have lost but not forgotten", "River family" and "RIP Dave Hastings", was ripped down just a couple of days later but was replaced by another tribute made by Mr Peck which has also now been torn down.
He said: "I made another one which was similar to the first one and that got torn down as well.
"I was really, really angry.
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"I just couldn't believe it.
"My mate didn't want to tell me for a couple of days.
"We went down there and he said he needed to tell me something before I went down there.
"It was just like letting a balloon down - I just felt totally deflated."
Despite Mr Peck's devastation, he would like to make another plaque, this time out of brass or something more robust, so that he and other friends can go down to the spot by the river and remember Mr Hastings.
The original memorial, which was carved out of white leather, also mentioned another former friend Paul Helmer, who died just after Christmas last year.
Police officers had commented to the group after seeing it to say what a good job they had done.
Anyone who can help the friends create a more permanent memorial should call Mr Peck on 07598 140360.