Detectives investigating the death of scaffolder Matthew Tester have said he knew his alleged attacker and was not the victim of a road rage attack.
The scaffolding firm boss, 49, died after witnesses said he was ‘repeatedly run over’ by a motorist in a BMW following an argument involving a group of men in the car park in Walton-upon-Thames, Surrey.
Police have appealed for witnesses who might have seen a white Series 1 BMW leaving the car park at Marks and Spencer after a confrontation.
Sergeant Pat Bauer from Elmbridge’s Safer Neighbourhood Team said: ‘There have been some reports speculating about road rage but initial enquiries do not support this and it is believed some of the parties were previously known to each other.’
Friends today paid tribute to Mr Tester and his heartbroken wife Kim who is said to be ‘absolutely devastated’ as she is comforted by relatives.
The driver of the BMW was last night arrested on suspicion of murder after he allegedly mowed down and killed Mr Tester and left a second man seriously injured at 2.15pm yesterday.
A family friend told MailOnline: ‘It’s absolutely awful. I was speaking to his wife Kim. She is absolutely devastated. She told me Matthew was run over repeatedly outside M&S. I just can’t understand it.
‘Matthew is a really nice, hard-working family man. He runs a scaffolding company and his wife Kim does the books. They have twin daughters who are in their teens. Everyone is so shocked. I just feel so sorry for Kim and the girls.’
Matthew ‘Tik’ Tester, a scaffolding company boss and classic scooter enthusiast, has been named locally as the victim of the attack, which sparked a huge response from police and ambulance crews in Walton-on-Thames yesterday afternoon
The 49-year-old scaffolding company boss leaves behind wife Kim, pictured together, and daughters Maddy and Pippa
Friends have today paid tribute to Mr Tester and his heartbroken wife Kim who is said to be ‘absolutely devastated’ as she is comforted by relatives at their semi detached house less than half a mile from the M&S foodhall
Mr Tester, or Tik as he was affectionately known, was an avid fan of scooters. A sign on a gate outside his home in Walton on Thames read ‘Lambretta parking only’
Police are again at the scene in Walton-on-Thames this morning as investigations into the suspected murder continue
A police officer stands beside a cordon at the junction of Cloister Court and Church Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey today
The family lived in a £450,000 semi detached home in a quiet street about half a mile from Walton-on-Thames town centre, and the scene of the attack, for 18 years
Shocked neighbours also described Mr Tester as a family man devoted to his two teenage daughters, Maddy and Pippa.
The family lived in a £450,000 semi detached home in a quiet street about half a mile from Walton-on-Thames town centre, and the scene of the attack, for 18 years.
The front driveway, where he parked his Range Rover car, was made up of broken paving stones.
A sign pinned to a wooden gate at the side of the property gave a clue to his passion for scooters and read ‘Lambretta Parking Only’ – a reference to the famous Italian scooter maker.
Police said the white BMW was later found unoccupied about four miles away from the scene in Addlestone, Surrey.
Sergeant Bauer added: ‘I understand how concerning this will be to our communities and I would like to reassure residents that we believe this to be an isolated incident.’
A Surrey Police spokesman said: ‘The first victim has now been formally identified as Matthew Tester, known locally as Tik, aged 49, from Walton-on-Thames.
‘The second victim, who is also in his 40s, is being treated in hospital where his injuries have been assessed as serious but not life threatening.
A 26-year-old man arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder and attempted murder remains in police custody.
A police officer stands beside a cordon at the junction of Cloister Court and Church Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, where the incident took place yesterday
Floral tributes were this morning left at the scene of the attack, in memory of the 49-year-old classic scooter enthusiast
Detective Chief Inspector David Springett, who is leading the enquiry, said: ‘We are working hard to build up a picture of events yesterday afternoon and I would like to thank all those who have come forward so far to help us do this. If you witnessed this incident or have any information relating to it and have not yet spoken to police, I would urge you to do so.
‘A local man has sadly lost his life and our thoughts are very much with his family who are being supported by specialist officers at this difficult time.
‘We are particularly interested in speaking to anyone who may have seen a white 1 series BMW in the area during the immediate period beforehand or afterwards as it left from the scene on Church Street at around 2pm, driving towards the High Street.
‘A white BMW, suspected of being the vehicle involved, was later found unoccupied at Temple Field Close in Addelstone and has since been recovered.’
Mr Tester, or Tik as he was affectionately known, was an avid fan of scooters. A sign on a gate outside his home in Walton on Thames read ‘Lambretta parking only’.
One neighbour said: ‘He and his wife Kim were always so friendly. He was into some sort of martial arts and helped out with one of his daughter’s football team
‘No one can quite believe that he had been killed. I only saw him a couple of days ago and he was very chatty.’
Another neighbour said: ‘He drove a Range Rover and his wife a BMW X5.
‘They have lived in the road almost 20 years and were here when we moved in. I know he ran a scaffolding company and was a hard worker. He has two teenage daughters and was very proud of them’
Contacted by phone, his wife Kim said: ‘I’ve got nothing to say at this time.’
Meanwhile, floral tributes in memory of the 49-year-old have been left at the scene of yesterday’s tragedy.
One note read: ‘Tik, We are totally devastated. The scootering community and friends have lost a true mate, and we are all thinking of Kim and your daughters tonight.’
One tribute read: ‘Tik, We are totally devastated. The scootering community and friends have lost a true mate, and we are all thinking of Kim and your daughters tonight’
The police investigation has entered its second day, while the 26-year-old suspect arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder remains in custoday
Other friends remembered Mr Tester, a classic scooter enthusiast, as a ‘brilliant guy’ and an ‘inspiration’ as tributes flooded in from neighbours and members of a local ‘chopper club’ following the tragedy, which struck just days before his 50th birthday.
One wrote: ‘It is an absolute shock, great person, thoughts go out to his wife and daughters.’
Another added: ‘No words can express how shocking and tragic this devastating event is.’
The 49-year-old leaves behind wife Kim, who is listed on Companies House as a director of his Sunbury Scaffold Services business, and daughters Maddy and Pippa.
At 2.15pm yesterday police were called after a disagreement outside the M&S store on Church Street dramatically escalated, before a car slammed into two men at around 2.15pm.
Emergency services rushed to the supermarket loading bay, but efforts to save Mr Tester failed and he was declared dead at the scene. Another man had to be airlifted to hospital with serious injuries – but he is expected to recover.
The owner of the vehicle was handcuffed and led away by police and remains in custody today.
Meanwhile, a local church has today invited those who saw the tragedy to pray and seek ‘refuge’.
Jonny Blair, vicar of St Mary’s Church in the town told GetSurrey: ‘The church is open for people if they have witnessed the incident, or if they have lost a loved one, the church is open for private prayer 9.30am to 2.30pm so they can find a refuge and a place of prayer if they want to.
‘If people have witnessed something I can imagine it being quite an ordeal, not to mention the families of those involved, so absolutely we will be available to those who wish to contact the church and we will be praying for them in the coming days.
‘Both for those whether directly involved or whether witnesses, as that is traumatic in itself.’
The supermarket car park was yesterday closed although the M&S store continued trading as normal while officers swarmed the area and experts tried to establish what had happened.
A spokesman said: ‘We would respectfully request that you avoid this area if possible while we continue to carry out further enquiries.’
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Springett said it was understandable the death would ’cause a lot of concern’.
Officers were called to an M&S car park on Church Street in Walton-on-Thames at 2.15pm yesterday afternoon after 999 was called because of an ‘altercation between a group of men’
Surrey Police said a man died at the scene and another was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after it appeared a driver got into his vehicle and drove at two of the men in the group
The car park was closed yesterday although the M&S store continued trading as normal while officers swarmed the area and experts tried to establish what had happened
The owner of the vehicle has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder – as the second man is expected to recover
Markings showed key locations where evidence was left as investigations continue into the death
Police flocked to the scene as investigations into how a man died continued yesterday evening
He added: ‘From our initial enquiries, it appears that an altercation has taken place, leading to a physical confrontation, which then resulted in one of the group getting into his car and driving at two of the other men.
‘Tragically, this has resulted in the death of one man and left another seriously injured and our thoughts are with their family and friends at this extremely difficult time.’
‘To assist the investigation, I would encourage anyone who has any information, particularly anyone who witnessed the incident, or anyone who has any mobile phone or dashcam footage, to come forward, quoting incident reference PR/P21083894.’
Earlier today traffic news service INRIX said: ‘A3050 Church Street in both directions closed, very slow traffic due to accident investigation work from High Street to Sidney Road. The road has been closed for investigation following an accident near the post office.’
Source: Daily Mail UK