A 52-year-old who was fatally stabbed with a screwdriver in a busy shopping centre was a devoted father, his family has said.
Seven teenagers, aged 14 to 17, were arrested after Peter Duncan was attacked in what police said was an unprovoked “chance encounter” at an entrance to Newcastle’s Eldon Square mall, close to a Greggs outlet, at around 6.20pm on Wednesday.
He was taken to the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary but died, and a murder inquiry was launched.
Duncan’s family paid tribute saying he will be in their “hearts and thoughts every day”.
They said in a statement: “Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help others.
“He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and loved by all who knew him. His death will leave such a huge hole in our lives and he’ll be deeply missed by us all.
“Words can’t quite describe what life will be like without him.
“He had so much of his life left to live and he’ll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.”
Duncan was an in-house lawyer for a multi-national maritime firm.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he was an electrical engineer before training as a solicitor at Northumbria University in 2003.
He worked in Newcastle for Royal IHC Limited, which has a city centre office close to where he was attacked.
Northumbria Police said the investigation was at an early stage but it appeared there has been a “coming together” at the entrance to the shopping centre.
It was also believed the weapon involved was a screwdriver.
Duncan, from Newcastle, was stabbed once in the chest.
Police cordoned off the shopping centre and Old Eldon Square – an open area with a war memorial which has long been a meeting area for young people.
Northumbria Police said the arrested youths were a 14 year-old, two 15-year-olds and four 17-year-olds in connection with the incident, one of which is believed to be the main suspect.
Northumbria Police Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Ged Noble, said: “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts go out to Peter’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“They continue to be given any support they may need by a team of specialist officers.
“Peter’s family have requested that their privacy is respected during this difficult time.
“I appreciate the communities we serve will have concerns and I want to reassure the public and businesses that we are doing all we can to prevent incidents of this tragic nature and ensure people feel safe.
“We will be continuing extra patrols in the area and I would urge anyone with concerns to speak to an officer.
“We are committed to finding out the circumstances behind Peter’s death, and I’d like to thank members of the public who’ve been in touch passing on information that could assist detectives with this investigation.
“Our enquiries will continue and I would ask anyone who witnessed the incident, who are yet to come forward, to pick up the phone and contact police.”
He praised the public for attempting to help the victim after he had been fatally injured, as well as for providing information to police.
Anyone with information was asked to call 101.