Police have described the "horrific" murder of a man who was stabbed to death days before his home was torched.

Antonio James Tommaso, 49, was stabbed several times at his home in Sheridan Lodge, Potters Road, New Barnet, at least two to three days before his murderer is believed to have returned to set fire to his flat last Thursday.

Detective Chief Inspector Glen Lloyd, who is leading the investigation, told the Times Series: “We believe the person who did this is known to Mr Tommaso and Mr Tommaso has let him into the flat – there are no signs of a disturbance or shouting.

“Mr Tommaso suffered significant injuries. It was a horrific attack.

"I have also got concerns about the fact someone has gone back – it takes guile to do that. They did what they did without a thought for other residents in that address.”

DCI Lloyd described Mr Tommaso as a “well liked and friendly” man who was “happy to chat” to people.

He had a long-term shoulder injury which prevented him from working, but he could often be seen cycling through Barnet on his mountain bike.

Police have released a photograph of the bike as well as a photograph of a red petrol can that was found at the scene.

DCI Lloyd has moved to reassure residents and said police do not believe this was a random attack. He said: “Barnet is a very safe area. This type of offence is a very unusual.”

Anyone who has any information about the incident, or recognises the red petrol can, is urged to contact police.