"This is a horrific murder"
Police have launched a murder investigation after a 50-year-old man was killed in a suspected homophobic attack in East London.
Ranjith Kakanamalage, also known as Roy, was a gay man and had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years.
At around 6:30 am on August 16, 2021, police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) following reports that a man had been found unresponsive in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on Southern Grove.
Ranjith was found with a head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem took place on August 19, 2021. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Police have asked members of the public who may have information to come forward.
The incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime, but detectives are keeping an open mind.
Officers have been working with LGBT+ Advisory Group and LGBT+ charities to encourage members of the community to stay safe.
Police have also urged members of the community and people who use the area, especially at night, to report anything suspicious to police.
They are also advised to be aware of their surroundings, avoiding listening to loud music and avoiding dimly lit areas where possible.
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.
“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.”
Detective superintendent Pete Wallis, Specialist Crime, added:
“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 s family are devastated, and your information could help us bring them justice.”
A 36-year-old man was arrested in connection with the suspected homophobic attack. He was later released on bail.
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.”