A MAN recently released from prison was stabbed to death while apparently trying to protect his wife from an attack.

The double stabbing in Downham has left the man, named locally as Lenny Kempley, dead and another man seriously ill in hospital.

Police were called at around 11.50pm on July 17 to reports of two men stabbed in Downham Way.

Mr Kempley, aged 62, was taken to a south London hospital but was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

He has not been formally identified.

The second man, in his late 20s, was taken to a separate south London hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Family members say Mr Kempley had been trying to defend his wife from an attack by three men at the Downham Tavern pub before he was killed.

Mr Kempley was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1995 for attempted robbery and making use of a firearm with intent to resist arrest. He was part of a gang, one of whom was disguised as a policeman, who had tried to rob a Kwik Save in Essex, threatening staff with guns.

After the alarm was raised, they tried to escape, with Kempley firing shots at police. He also had previous convictions for robbery, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding.

Flowers and tributes have been left at the scene of the attack, opposite the pub.

News Shopper: Flowers have been left at the scene The latest killing is the seventh murder in Lewisham borough this year.

Ward councillor Duwayne Brooks has repeated his recent calls for a borough-wide knife amnesty.

He said: “Knife crime is going up in this borough.

“The council has to do something about it and show zero tolerance on this issue.”

A murder investigation has been launched and is being headed by Detective Chief Inspector Damian Allain.

He said: “I believe the murder is linked to an altercation at the Downham Tavern pub in Downham earlier on Saturday night.

“I need to hear from anyone who witnessed the altercation at the pub or the subsequent stabbings in Downham Way.”

Detectives from the Met’s homicide and serious crime command are working with the police to reassure people in the area.

They believe the victims knew their attacker and say there is no suggestion this is gang related.

Safer neighbourhood team officers will be on patrol in the area and people can speak to them if they have any concerns.

Call the police on 020 8721 4805 or Crimestoppers if you have any information about what happened.

Two men and a woman were arrested in connection with the investigation and have been bailed until next month.