Banker described as 'kindest person' dies following unprovoked attack in London street
Published 30/08/2016 | 09:36
A man who died after being assaulted on a night out has been described by his private bank employer as "popular and dedicated" with a bright future.
Oliver Dearlove, 30, from Eltham, a relationship manager at Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, died on Sunday night at just after 10.20pm in an east London hospital.
Police were called to reports of a man assaulted in Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, south-east London, at around 12.45am on Sunday morning, Scotland Yard said.
Jeff Durant, head of private banking at Duncan Lawrie, said: "Oliver Dearlove was a popular and dedicated member of our London Private Banking relationship team with a bright future ahead of him.
"We are a small community and this is a great shock not only to those who knew him personally and worked with him closely, but for all of us. We are all deeply saddened by this senseless and tragic event.
"Our thoughts are with Oliver's family at this difficult time."
His girlfriend Claire Wheatley told the Telegraph: "He and his friends aren’t the kind of guys who look for trouble. They like having a good time and a bit of banter. But he’s just the kindest person and would normally cower away from things like that, from any altercation."
Mr Dearlove's mother, Joy Wright, from Chislehurst, told The Guardian: "He was very easygoing, lots and lots of friends, played lots of football.
"He studied hard at school. He worked for a private bank in Belgravia. He had been travelling for a year. He did what most nice people do."
The newspaper said Mr Dearlove had previously worked for Coutts and Barclays.
Ms Wright told the newspaper: "He and his friends all met up, had lunch, dinner, drinks. He texted his girlfriend that he loved her around 10pm. Someone picked a fight, punched him and (he) fell backwards and that was it.
"I don't think there was an altercation. I think someone said to him and his friends 'what are you looking at?' and that was it. I think he stopped breathing when he hit the floor. His friends gave him CPR."
She added: "He was just perfect. I'm in a state of shock. We have friends and family here and we're all pulling together. Sometimes I'm all right, sometimes I'm not. I'm absolutely devastated for him. (He had) so much more life to live."
Police have launched a murder investigation and a post-mortem examination will be carried out at Greenwich Mortuary on Tuesday.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Watling, of the homicide and major crime command, said: "We are retaining an open mind at this stage of the investigation with regards to a motive and our primary aim is to establish how Mr Dearlove came to receive the injuries which led to his death.
"We are appealing for anyone who was at Tranquil Vale who witnessed the incident, in particular a group of up to four white females who Mr Dearlove and his friends were speaking to around the time the offence occurred."
No arrests have been made.