The manager of a takeaway said two men who were fatally stabbed on Saturday were seen “laughing and joking” hours before they were murdered.

Shah Zaib, manager of BBQ Express in High Street, Wanstead, said Aaron Carriere, 21, and Josiah Manful, 20, who were stabbed in Montague Road, Leytonstone, were “two of my best customers".

It is believed a group of at least five attackers, who were reportedly wielding knives and baseball bats, attacked the men while they were in a black Ford Fiesta, stabbing them both several times in the early hours of Saturday.

Both men were churchgoers and lived in Leytonstone. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Zaib said: “I knew them – they were here on Friday night. They were very good customers and very calm people.

“They were some of my best customers. They were just here, laughing and joking.

“They came here and had dinner and then left, like always. We don’t know what customers do the rest of the time, all I know is I served them and they were nice people.

“It’s a sad situation.”

On Tuesday the takeaway tweeted: "Saddened to learn about the deaths of two of our regular customers. May their souls rest in peace."

Anyone who witnessed the event, or who may know why the men were murdered and who is responsible, is urged to come forward.

No arrests have yet been made.