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Wednesday 24 October 2018

'Life and soul of the party' - Tributes paid to Irish theatre boss stabbed to death in London

Pic shows; Gearoid Gaffney
Pic shows; Gearoid Gaffney

Gerry Hand and Robin Schiller

AN IRISH theatre boss who was stabbed to death in London was the “life and soul of the party”, grieving friends have said.

Gearoid Gaffney (45), who was originally from Leixlip, Co Kildare, died last Monday after a week-long fight for life in a London hospital.

Mr Gaffney, who had worked in entertainment all his life and was friends with many stars, leaves wife Catherine and daughter Erin.

He was injured in an incident in Brixton on Sunday, May 13.  Police arrested a 52-year-old man after the stabbing and he was charged with attempted murder.

He is due to appear before the Old Bailey on June 12, when it is expected the charge will be upgraded to murder.

Detectives of the London Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command are continuing to investigate Mr Gaffney’s death.

Mr Gaffney was brought to the city’s Kings Hospital, where he fought for his life for more than a week. Tragically, he was pronounced dead last Monday.

Known to his friends in Ireland as Doie, Mr Gaffney was working as a freelance rigger in several venues around London at the time of his death.

A close family friend said yesterday that it appeared Mr Gaffney had become involved in an altercation and suffered several stab wounds.

“He battled for his life for eight days but passed away on Monday,” the friend added.

“Gearoid had worked in theatres and in the entertainment business all of his life,” he added.

“He was an outgoing lad who was never fazed by the fact he became friends to many of the stars who played.

“He was the life and soul of the party, an outgoing guy, not the type to look for trouble but he wouldn’t back down either.

“Quite how the row that cost him his life started is not clear yet, but it’s more than likely that Gearoid was going to help someone out.

“The whole family are in complete shock over what has just happened to them.

“A number of members of his family travelled over as soon as they got the news on the Sunday night.

“They and his legion of friends worldwide were rooting for him to pull through but sadly he didn’t make it.”

In a touching tribute to the Irishman – known as Gerry in London – the academy had the message “RIP Gerry” in lights over its main entrance this week.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said that detectives were continuing their appeal for anyone who saw the incident which led to Mr Gaffney’s death to come forward.

“We ask anyone who saw the incident or has any information about the events that led up to the confrontation to contact detectives. Your information could be vital in helping us understand why this tragic event happened,” he said.

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