ricky hayden
Ricky Hayden died in the early hours of Wednesday after being attacked outside his home by a gang Facebook

A celebrity bodyguard was stabbed to death on his driveway as he confronted a gang of machete-wielding thieves with his father.

Ricky Hayden, 27 – who protected football star Peter Crouch and model Abbey Clancy on their wedding day – died after the attack outside his family home in Chadwell Heath, east London.

His 46-year-old father, Paul, also suffered knife wounds, but his injuries are not described as life-threatening.

The attack unfolded after the pair saw a group of men attempting to steal a moped outside the family home in Gibbfield Close at around 1.25am on Tuesday (13 September).

Neighbours reported being awoken to the sounds of screams as the pair were attacked by the machete-wielding thieves. They were taken to a north-east London hospital where Hayden was pronounced dead in the early hours of Wednesday. His father remains in hospital. The gang also knifed the family's dog Roxy across the chest, with the pet surviving but left badly injured.

Two men, who have not been named, were arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday and remain in custody. Two others remain on the run.

Neighbour Bella Tasci, 34, said she heard his screams as the men were stabbed in the altercation, before the thieves fled the scene without the moped. There were cries of "get off him" as Hayden and his father confronted around four "young black men", who made their getaway on two motorbikes, she said.

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Ricky Hayden, circled, is pictured while working as a bodyguard to Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy on their wedding day in 2011 PA

Tasci, who has lived in Gibbfield Close for seven years, said they were a "lovely" family. She said a gang calling themselves the 'Hainault boys' had been "hanging around the area" in recent weeks and that her son, 14, was now scared to walk back from school alone.

Tracy Aubrey, 50, who has known Hayden since he was young, described him as "the nicest boy you could ever meet, he was always joking and absolutely lovely". She said her daughter went to school with him and was "in pieces" at the news. "Nobody would have a bad word to say about him," she added.

Aubrey said he had a security light outside the house which would have come on when the gang tried to steal his moped. She said she has lived in Gibbfield Close for 16 years, adding the tragedy "makes you realise what a nice community it really is".

Havering Council also paid tribute to Hayden, who when not working as a bodyguard was a member of the council's highways maintenance team. Andrew Blake-Herbert, chief executive of the council, said: "Ricky was a well-liked team member and of course we will be offering support to his friends and colleagues in the council who will be feeling this loss very deeply."

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The scene in Chadwell Heath, east London, where Ricky Hayden was fatally stabbed as he confronted a gang of moped thieves with his father PA

Hours before her brother died, Ricky's younger sister, April, posted photographs on Facebook of her kissing her brother as he lay in hospital. One family member described them as "very close-knit" family, adding: "You can imagine what we are all going through and how we are feeling. We are trying to deal with this together."

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command appealed for anyone who may have seen or heard anything to come forward. Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Packer said: "Gibbfield Close is a residential street and while there would not have been many people out and about at the time of this attack, it was a warm night and people would have had their windows open.

"I am appealing to anyone who heard, or subsequently saw, anything suspicious to come forward and speak to police."

Any witnesses and anyone with any information are asked to call police via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.