Published: 4 May, 2012
by PAVAN AMARA
POLICE have charged a 58-year-old man with murder after a “vulnerable” adult was stabbed to death on Monday.
Victim Rodney Hickford, 59, from Thornhill Road was described by neighbours as a “cheery soul”. But it was claimed that Mr Hickford had alcohol problems and once almost died of smoke inhalation after accidentally setting his flat alight.
Following the blaze Mr Hickford was regarded as “vulnerable” and was being cared for by Islington Social Services who sent a social worker to visit him several times a week.
Police and ambulance services were called to Mr Hickford’s home at 3.47pm on Monday, but found the 59-year-old dead at the scene.
Two men – a 58-year-old and a 63-year-old were arrested.
The 63-year-old was released with no action taken. But the 58-year-old, named as Norman Newmarch, of Florence Street, Canonbury, was charged with the murder of Mr Hickford.
Dannie Anders-Petrov, who lives in the flat below Mr Hickman, had gone out for dinner with her partner for 15 minutes before the attack took place.
“We came back and the entire house had been cordoned off,” she said. “Luckily we can get to our flat through a side entrance, but anyone living in the other three flats wasn’t allowed back in for the night.
“I have had lots of people phoning and asking if I’m okay.”
One nearby resident, who knew Mr Hickford, said: “He was a friendly and cheery soul. He didn’t know my name so he’d always call out: ‘Hello neighbour’.”
Other neighbours said Mr Hickford had attended Thornhill primary school, which is also on Thornhill Road, and had always lived in Barnsbury.
They said that Mr Hickman frequently attended Equinox Whitaker Centre on Tollington Way, a day centre for street drinkers.
Mr Newmarch appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning.
Mr Hickman’s next of kin have now been informed.
A post-mortem examination at St Pancras mortuary gave the cause of death as stab wounds to the back and stomach.