A man has been charged with the murder of John Abbey – and the Advertiser can reveal he was a close friend of the talented boxer.
Charles William Acquah, who will appear in court tomorrow, also used to help look after John’s three-year-old daughter Natalie, who saw her dad being stabbed to death last Thursday.
John’s best friend has revealed that Natalie saw Acquah, 22, from Greenside Road, Croydon, “as an uncle”.
Kobby Opoku-Barnieh has also revealed how the two women in Mr Abbey’s life have been left devastated by his death.
John, who was known to friends as ‘King’, was engaged to Emma Abbort, with whom he had two children.
But he was temporarily living with another woman, Natra, who gave birth to John’s son on the day he died.
It was Natra’s three-year-old daughter Natalie who saw her dad stabbed to death in London Road, West Croydon.
The Advertiser understands that Acquah used to box with 26-year-old John. Best friend Kobby told the Advertiser that Emma has not been able to stop crying since John’s death.
She has two children with him, Jayden, one-and-a-half, and Lola Rose, four months.
They had been living together but had to move out of their flat after John lost his job recently.
Emma went to stay with her mum while Natra invited John to move in with her temporarily in Upper Norwood so he could see more of Natalie.
Talking about Emma, Kobby said: “She is always crying, asking how she is going to cope with two kids. She’s in shock, she can’t even open her eyes. She’s a total mess.
“Every time I speak to her she is crying and can’t believe it’s true or that she’s not going to speak to him again.
“She needs all the support she can get from her family and friends now.”
Kobby revealed that John, who represented Ghana at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, had recently got back into boxing and was hoping to make a career out of it.
He was so highly regarded by his coaches that Kobby says he was being lined up for a fight with James De Gale, who won a gold for Britain at last year’s Olympics.
Paying tribute, Kobby said: “He was a really good guy, he was basically a down to earth person, who was relaxed and easy to get along with, who used to look after so many people in the community.
“He used to have this job selling clothes and used to make a lot of money. With that he would put money in your pocket to make sure you got through the weekend.”
Kobby cannot believe that he will never see his best friend, who also had a six-year-old daughter, Natasha, from another relationship, who lived in Ghana, again.
When asked what he thought of whoever killed John, he said: “How can you take a human life?
“How can you take a human’s life over silliness? He must have some evil spirit in him. What kind of heart does he have to kill a man in front of his three-year-old daughter?”
Two other men remain in custody over the death of John, who died of a single stab wound to the heart.
He was waiting to catch a b us to go and see Natra and his newborn son at Mayday Hospital. While excited about becoming a dad again, Kobby says John was looking forward to living with Emma again.
He said: “King was in love and couldn’t wait to be back living with her.”