Anger at vandals who tore down memorial to Norwich murder victim
PUBLISHED: 16:03 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:00 02 July 2019
Friends of a man who was stabbed to death say they are devastated after a memorial to remember him 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, 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 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.
The white leather patch included the phrases "Friends we have lost but not forgotten", "River family" and "RIP Dave Hastings".
But the memorial, which also mentioned another former friend Paul Helmer, who died just after Christmas last year, was ripped down a couple of days later.
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Mr Peck, who had also carved River Friends onto a nearby bench and cleaned up the area, said: "It was like a plaque, like a gravestone.
"We just feel angry and upset - why would you do that? We just don't understand people that would do that. It's disgusting."
Mr Fox said he had been left "angry, upset and a bit tearful" by the act of vandalism.
He said police officers who had been passing and saw him next to the memorial commented on what a good job they had done with it.
Mr Fox said it was "absolutely disgusting".
Another friend, Taffy Wheeler said it was "disgusting" and "disrespectful".
Mr Peck said he would like to replace the memorial to Mr Hastings so friends could continue to come down to the river and remember him.
Anyone who can help should call Mr Peck on 07598 140360.