Loveable’ man, 42, stabbed to death in leafy village – as 5 arrested over ‘murder’

Loveable’ man, 42, stabbed to death in leafy village – as 5 arrested over ‘murder’

Gary Hopkins, 42, has been named as the man who was stabbed to death in a quiet village in New Haw, Surrey on Monday – he was described as “loveable” and someone who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”

An alleged murder victim has been described as “loveable” by shocked residents.

Gary Hopkins, 42, has been named locally as the man stabbed to death in a quiet village in Surrey on Monday.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of his murder but just one remains in custody on Wednesday, detectives said.

Surrey Police said initially that they believed Mr Hopkins and the suspects were known to each other, before releasing four men under investigation.

Locals in New Haw – where the incident took place – have now paid tribute to Mr Hopkins, who was thought to be single, as flowers were left at the scene.

They described him as “harmless”, and said he would often go around door-to-door offering to do odd jobs.

One woman said: “He was lovely. He was what you could call a loveable pain in the a***.

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly. It’s sad. He would talk to anyone. He was a very friendly guy.

“He started a fishing club for the kids on the site. He would take them to give the parents a break.”

Another added: “He was harmless – a nice chap. I had known him for about a year.”

And a friend said online: “R.I.P Gary Hopkins gone so soon but will [sic] missed deeply see u on the other side mate xxx.”

Other residents living on Heathervale Way – just minutes from the centre of leafy New Haw – spoke of their shock at the events.

One man said: “It’s shocking – terrible. Things aren’t like they used to be.”

And a woman added: “It’s a nice area to live. Nothing that serious usually happens.”

Police had arrested three teenagers, aged 19, 18 and 18, and two men, aged 31 and 28.

But just the eldest man, from Addlestone, Surrey, remains in custody, a statement said.

Officers continue to probe on Heathervale Way, where a cordon is in place and forensic searches are taking place.

The road snakes through a mobile home site, and is sat close to the M25.

Inspector James Wyatt said: “We understand that this violent act will have shocked the local community and we would like to reassure residents that we are doing everything possible to establish who is responsible and hold them to account.

“Local residents can expect to see an increased police presence in the area over the next couple of days whilst we carry out our enquiries.

“At this stage of the investigation, we believe that the victim and suspects were known to each other and we don’t believe there to be any risk to the wider public.”

Local MP Dr Ben Spencer added on Tuesday: “Last night a serious incident took place in Heathervale Way, New Haw, where a man sadly died.

“My thoughts are with his family and friends. I know this has also shocked and saddened the local community.”