POLICE investigating the murder of wealthy stockbroker Barry Stubbings

were last night waiting to interview another stabbing victim who could

provide vital evidence.

Retired hotel manager David McKie, 63, was attacked in Wapping,

London, on Tuesday night, just two miles from where Mr Stubbings, a

homosexual, was murdered at his flat in Whitechapel a few hours later.

Mr McKie, who like Mr Stubbings, was stabbed in the throat, was last

night said to be critically ill but stable in the Royal London Hospital.

He also suffered chest and hand injuries.

Detectives have not yet been able to interview him but Detective

Superintendent Albert Patrick, the man who led last year's hunt for gay

serial killer Colin Ireland, said: ''He could be a crucial witness to my


Mr Patrick said there were some similarities between the attack on Mr

McKie and the murder of 51-year-old Mr Stubbings, who worked as a

director for City brokers James Capel.

''Of course I am concerned about it,'' he said, ''but I don't want to

signal alarm that there is any killer on the loose.''

The detective added: ''It would be wrong for me not to say to gay

people in London that there could be a connection. Just be careful.''

Police said Mr McKie opened the door to a caller at his 10th-floor

flat in Prusom Street, Wapping, at about 7.30pm on Tuesday.

An argument took place inside the flat and he was attacked just

outside the front door with his own kitchen knife which was found at the

scene. He was found by neighbours, slumped against the wall.

His flat is in the Docklands area, about two miles from where Mr

Stubbings was murdered between midnight and 3am.

Mr Patrick appealed to the gay community and gay press to help police,

as they did during the investigation into Ireland's murders of five

homosexual men in their London homes.

''The Ireland case was solved by a member of the gay community. I

gained a lot of experience from that case,'' Mr Patrick told a London

news conference.

A fuller picture of Mr Stubbings's double life was emerging yesterday.

Police said he was a workaholic, highly respected by colleagues at James

Capel who knew little of his personal life except that he was a keen

gardener and visited his 88-year-old mother in Ashford, Kent, every


However, in his private life, he had picked up lovers in public

toilets and is thought to have frequented some of London's 120 gay pubs

and clubs.

Police are interviewing two of his lovers who knew him by the names

Peter and Tony and are appealing for others to come forward.

They said it appeared Mr Stubbings had eaten an Indian or Chinese meal

after 9pm on Tuesday before returning home around midnight. Neighbours

said they heard someone leaving his flat at around 3am.

His partially-clothed body was found when police broke into the flat

on Wednesday afternoon after Mr Stubbings had failed to keep a business


Detectives have not yet found the murder weapon but are going through

piles of correspondence at the flat relating to business deals and

private letters at his mother's house.

They say there is no indication the murder was connected with his

business dealings.

Mr Patrick said Mr Stubbings was not involved in the kind of

sado-masochistic sex that was a feature of the serial killings carried

out by Ireland in London last summer.

As they did then, police have warned gay men not to pick up strangers

in bars and clubs and go home with them.

However, Mr Peter Tatchell of pressure group Outrage said this was

impracticable advice, although sensible precautions were needed.

''Our advice is that if you decide to go home with a man you have met

for the first time, introduce him to a friend or bartender so someone

knows who you left with,'' he said.

Police are appealing for anyone who knew Mr Stubbings, possibly under

a different name, to contact their incident room on 071 488 5212 or to

call Galop -- Gay London Policing Group -- on 071 233 0854.