Police offer £20,000 reward in hunt for ‘homophobic’ killer and issue CCTV of two potential witnesses after man, 50, was murdered in Tower Hamlets cemetery known as gay cruising spot
- Ranjith Kankanamalage, 50, found dead with head injuries in London cemetery
- His murder is being treated by detectives as a homophobic hate crime
- First possible witness is of medium build with short, light-coloured hair
- Second person is of medium build with short dark hair and wearing dark clothing
Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information as they continue to investigate 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 pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination showed that Mr Kankanamalage, a gay man who had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years, had died from blunt-force trauma to the head.
Ranjith Kankanamalage, 50, (above) was found with ‘blunt force trauma’ injuries to his head in a cemetery in Tower Hamlets, London
Police have also released images of two men known to have been near the cemetery at the time of the attack and who they feel may hold information which could be crucial in the investigation
Officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command are investigating his murder, which has been categorised as a homophobic hate crime.
Local residents said that the graveyard was well known as a ‘cruising’ spot for gay men, but gangs of youths had also been gathering there during lockdown.
They have now offered a £20,000 reward for any information which could lead to the identification and conviction of Mr Kankanamalage’s killer.
The Met said in a statement detectives had pursued leads with the help of the local community but believe there may be key witnesses who have not yet come forward.
Police have released images of two men known to have been near the cemetery at the time of the attack and who they feel may hold information which could be crucial in the investigation.
The first of the two possible witnesses is described as being of medium build with short, light-coloured hair, and wearing a dark T-shirt, light-blue shorts, dark-brown trainers and carrying a black backpack.
The second person is also of medium build but with short dark hair and was wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.
Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, from the Met’s specialist crime command, said: ‘We understand that given the circumstances of the murder, people may be reluctant to come forward.
‘We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant they believe it to be, to report it to police or any of our LGBT+ partners. We are particularly appealing to the two people pictured to come forward.
‘I can assure the public that any information shared will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and consideration. My colleagues and I remain dedicated to finding Ranjith’s killer.’
Local residents said that the graveyard (above) was well known as a ‘cruising’ spot for gay men, but gangs of youths had also been gathering there during lockdown
Derek Lee, from the Met’s LGBT+ advisory group, said: ‘We appeal for anyone who knows anything about this horrendous crime to come forward using the many channels available. We are aware that, while it remains unsolved, this is causing considerable concern amongst LGBTQ+ people in Tower Hamlets and across London.
‘We are advising the police on sensitive ways of keeping our parks safe and wider reassurance for all communities. At the same time we ask everyone to please use common sense when going home or out late at night. We must all be vigilant.’
People with information are urged to contact 101, giving the reference 1277/16AUG.
Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or to GALOP on 0207 7704 2040 or ELOP on 020 8509 3898.
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