THE FAMILY of a man killed in a road crash last Sunday have paid tribute to their “loving” and “cheeky” 21-year-old.

Habib Topalli, a team leader with a facilities company, was in the passenger seat of a BMW which collided with a parked minibus in Hoe Lane at 8am on Sunday. He died at the scene. The driver of the car is currently in a stable condition in hospital.

Friends and family are now gathering at the family home, in Poynter Road, Bush Hill Park, to pay their respects, while a Facebook group dedicated to his memory has so far gathered nearly 370 members since it was set up late yesterday evening, less than 24 hours ago.

His stepmother, Lindita Topalli, 41, who has looked after him since he was five years old, paid an emotional tribute to her “loving” stepson.

She said: “He was always the cheeky one. He didn’t really like to sit down for hours in one place. He was an allegro boy, full of life, you could leave him somewhere one minute and you wouldn’t find him there when you got back.”

She added: “He was always buying presents. The week before the crash he came back with a beautiful rose for me because I was unwell.

"He gave the rose to me and said you are my best mum in the world and kissed me and said I love you.”

The eldest of four brothers, Habib went to Northumberland Park school in Tottenham. Aged 18 he opened a Kosovan restaurant, Dardana, in West Green Road, Tottenham, for two years.

Mrs Topalli described how she and her husband organised a surprise 18th birthday party for him at his restaurant after he broke both his legs falling off the roof of her house when trying to fix her TV aerial.

She said: “He saw everyone there, turned around to face me and said mum I can’t speak any more and started crying.”

Habib’s father, Fatmir, 45, and brought his family to the UK in 1999, fleeing the war in Kosovo.

He said that he had been inundated with visits from his son’s friends and family wishing to pay their respects.

He said: “So many people have come, and I don’t know exactly who all of them are”.

Hana Hassanein, 20, of Palmers Green, was Habib’s girlfriend of two years. She said he had told her he had bought her “something pink”, her favourite colour, the day before he died, though she never found out what it was.

She said: “He was always cheerful, he was cheeky but would always sit and talk about your problems if you wanted. He was loved by a lot of people. He was just the most loving person.”

His funeral will be held tomorrow. Family and friends are meeting in Poynter Road at 1pm before taking Mr Topalli's body to be buried in a garden of remembrance in Ilford.