Barry Stubbings, 51, a corporate broker at James Capel & Co, was found dead at his flat in White's Row, Spitalfields. He had been stabbed several times in an attack described by police as 'frenzied'.
Detectives have been investigating his social and business background in an attempt to discover a motive for the killing. Friends and business associates are being interviewed as it appears that Mr Stubbings, a bachelor, knew his killer or at least willingly let him or her into the flat.
Neighbours said the security and entryphone system would have made it extremely difficult for anyone to break into the third-floor apartment.
Detectives said they had established that Mr Stubbings's last communication before he died was with his mother, whom he telephoned at about 9pm on Tuesday to say he was going out for a meal.
On Wednesday morning, colleagues became alarmed when he failed to turn up for work and police were called. They broke into his flat at lunchtime and found the body in the living room.
Detective Superintendent Albert Patrick, who is leading the inquiry, said last night that police were keeping an 'open mind' on the motive for the murder. 'We have to dig into his background and see what we come up with . . . He was a lovely man . . . and he was very friendly so I very much doubt anybody at work had a grievance with him.'
Mr Stubbings joined James Capel at 17, directly from a school, and steadily rose to a key position.
Based at the firm's offices near Southwark Bridge, he worked on takeovers, rights issues and flotations as a member of a four-strong team on the corporate side. He travelled the world on company business and is believed to have earned more than pounds 150,000 a year.
His lifestyle, however, is said to have been quiet and his acquisitions modest.
In addition to the one-bedroom Spitalfields flat in a renovated Victorian building on the fringes of the City - bought a few years ago for about pounds 100,000 - he owned a four-bedroomed detached house at Ashford, Kent, which was occupied by his mother, Ena, 87. He spent most weekends there.
Mrs Stubbings was being cared for by relatives last night.
Mr Stubbings's brother Michael, 57, said: 'He was a wonderful brother I am sure he was as nice at work as he was at home. The whole family is absolutely shocked.'
A spokesman for James Capel said: 'Barry Stubbings was a dedicated consummate professional who was highly respected by all who knew him and worked with him. He will be greatly missed.'
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