Man, 50, brutally battered to death in homophobic attack in London cemetery

A man who was brutally battered to death in a suspected homophobic hate crime inside a London cemetery has been pictured for the first time.

50-year-old Ranjith Kakanamalage, also known as Roy, is believed to have been targeted and left for dead in Tower Hamlets, East London.

According to police, Roy was a gay man who had lived in the area for many years.

Police found Mr Kakanamalage with a head injury after they were called by the London Ambulance Service with reports of a man found unresponsive on 16 August.

He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene, with a post-mortem examination revealing the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

The incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime.

Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett 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."

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In response to the incident, police have increased patrols in the area and officers are working with the LGBT+ Advisory Group and LGBT+ charities including Galop, Elop and Positive East.

A crime scene remains in the park and is expected to stay in place for a number of days, and a 36-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack has been released on bail.

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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