A 40-year-old man appeared in court last week charged by police with the murder of Brighton resident Gordon Stalker, a founder of the Lewes Road Community Garden.

Stalker, 51, was found bleeding in the hallway of his shared house in Elm Grove on the morning of Monday 15 February. Post mortem results found he died as a result of multiple stab wounds to his chest and side.

The accused, Stephen Dunne, of Chates Farm Court, Brighton, was remanded in custody until a preliminary hearing takes place at Lewes Crown Court.

It is understood that Dunne fled from the scene of the crime to Dover, but then headed to London where he gave himself up to the police. The motive for the crime is unclear.

Mr Stalker, who was well known in the local community, was described by Marina Pepper, a fellow organiser at the community garden, as a “community pillar.” A gathering was held at the garden on Sunday the 21 February to mourn Gordon’s passing.

The Lewes Road Community Garden was set up in May 2009 on a small patch of derelict land next to the Lewes Road Co-Operative Grocer. About 100 local residents participated in its initial establishment, but over the past year the garden has been widely used by the local community.

The garden recently came under threat from attempts by build a TESCO on the land, resulting in the “Say NO to TESCO on Lewes Road” campaign, which Gordon was also closely involved with.

Elm Grove, notorious for its steep hill, is a popular student area. Julia Welham, a third year English student at Brighton University who lives on Elm Grove, described the killing as “so strange.”

“The weirdest thing about it for me is that he was killed in broad daylight,” she said.

“I don’t really feel any less safe around Brighton because of it, though. I’m just desperately sad for the guy. The garden is really nice and he seemed like a lovely person who was really involved in the local community.”

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