London: Victim of ‘homophobic murder’ found dead in cemetery pictured

Ranjith Kankanamalage was found unresponsive in Tower Hamlets Cemetery park and was pronounced dead at the scene (Picture:SWNS/UKNIP)

The victim of a suspected homophobic murder in an east London cemetery has been named as 50-year-old Ranjith Kankanamalage.

Mr Kankanamalage, who was also known as Roy, was found dead in Tower Hamlets Cemetery park on the morning of August 16.

Officers were called by the London Ambulance Service at around 6.30am to reports that a man was unresponsive, and they found Mr Kakanamalage with a head injury.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

The incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime, although detectives are keeping an open mind as they work on the investigation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, policing commander for Hackney and Tower Hamlets, said: ‘This is a horrific murder and my thoughts are with Ranjith’s family and loved ones.

‘Whilst such incidents are thankfully still very rare in London, I want to reassure that community that my officers and specialist detectives are working tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.

‘I also want to be really clear that there is no place, at all, in London for any form of hate crime and the Met is absolutely committed to tackling it and supporting victims. We are here for you.’

Ranjith Knkanamalage

Ranjth died of head injures in what police believe was a homophobic attack (Picture: PA)

Police said Mr Kankanamalage had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years before he was killed.

They have increased patrols in the area and officers have been working LGBT+ charities to inform and encourage members of the community to stay safe in the wake of the incident.

Members of the community and local people who use the area, especially at night, are being urged to report anything suspicious to police immediately.

They are advised to prioritise their personal safety by being aware of their surroundings, avoiding listening to loud music, and avoiding dimly-lit areas where possible.

A crime scene remains in the park and is expected to stay in place for a number of days.

It comes after a 36-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack and then released on bail.

Mr Bennett said: ‘A crucial part of our work and especially during this investigation, is community support and engagement, and I am really grateful for the support we are receiving from LGBTQ+ organisations during this difficult time, where they are assisting my teams in keeping the community updated.

‘This is a live investigation and I would urge the community to work with us and to tell us what they might know about Ranjith and what’s happened to him.

‘The slightest piece of information could prove crucial to the investigation. You can contact Crimestoppers anonymously, or speak to the charities mentioned. But what matters most is that you make the call if you know anything.”

Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis said: “My officers are working 24/7 with local colleagues and drawing from resources across the Met. We will stop at nothing to bring justice to Ranjith’s family, who have been left devastated following this awful incident.

“I need anyone who has information to contact us immediately. Have you seen someone in the park or area who was acting suspiciously? It is imperative that you tell us what you know. Ranjith’s family are devastated, and your information could help us bring them justice.”

Derek Lee, from the LGBT+ Advisory Group, said: “We are a voluntary group of independent advisors working closely with the local police, local council and the homicide team on this case.

‘We are making sure that LGBT+ issues are addressed in the investigation of this tragic death as well as the wider police response regarding safety in Tower Hamlets and the whole of London.

‘If you have any information, please contact the police, Crimestoppers or the LGBT+ charity, Galop. The investigation team is clear that they are only interested in information relevant to the case and your privacy will be respected.’

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