Appeal for witnesses after fatal suspected homophobic attack

Police are hoping attempts to engage with the LGBT community will help to solve a suspected homophobic murder in a historic east London cemetery.

Ranjith “Roy” Kankanamalage, 50, was found at about 6.30am on August 16 in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park with head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem showed that Mr Kankanamalage, a gay man who had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years, died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police appealed for help from those who were around the park between 10pm and 7am on the night of August 15 .

Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, the officer in charge of the investigation, told the PA news agency police are keen to engage with the LGBT community.

He said: “We are keen to understand the community that Roy chose to live in and we are reaching to various advisory groups including the LGBT community… so we learn to understand that community so we can engage with them and hopefully gain their confidence.”

The force previously said the incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime, although detectives are keeping an open mind.

Officers will be at the park on Sunday to distribute leaflets in a bid to find witnesses to the attack or those who saw Mr Kankanamalage in the hours before his death.

Mr Wallis said: “We’re looking to identify those witnesses who may have seen the victim in the park, and we’ve issued a photograph of him, but also who may have known the victim in the community.”

A 36-year-old man has been arrested and bailed in connection with the attack.

Mr Kankanamalage’s family are being supported by specialist officers and police are working with LGBT charity Galop to keep the community updated.

Police have asked anyone with information to call 0208 345 3865, 101, or Tweet @MetCC quoting 1277/16.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.