Police chiefs are appealing to the East End’s gay community for help after the death of Ranjith Kakanamalage in Mile End in what police say was “a suspected homophobic attack”.
Ranjith, a 50-year-old also known as Roy, has just been named by Scotland Yard as the victim who was also said to be gay.
His family have released a picture of him in tribute as police appeal for information to help the investigation.
Ranjith was found with a head injury in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in Southern Grove at 6.30am on August 16 and died at the scene.
His death is being treated by the Met’s East Central Command as “a homophobic hate crime” with the appeal for help coming from the top.
– Credit: Mike Brooke
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“I want to reassure the community that officers and detectives are working to bring those responsible to justice,” the Met’s Tower Hamlets borough commander Marcus Barnett said.
“I urge the community to tell us what they might know about Ranjith and what happened to him. The slightest piece of information could prove crucial to the investigation.”
Det Chief Supt Barnett added: “There is no place for any form of hate crime and we’re committed to tackling it.”
Police patrols have been stepped up around Mile End and officers have been working with the gay community urging them to stay safe in the wake of the incident.
Those who use the area, especially at night, are being asked to “report anything suspicious” to police and to be aware of their surroundings and avoid dimly-lit areas where possible. A crime scene is expected to stay in place for several days.
Det Supt Pete Wallis promised: “We’ll 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, if they’ve seen someone acting suspiciously in the park or the area.
“Ranjith’s family are devastated and any information could help bring them justice.”
Cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the head”, a post-mortem examination on August 19 found.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously or speak to charities in the gay community.
The LGBT+ independent advisory group’s Derek Lee said: “We are making sure that LGBT issues are addressed in the investigation of this tragic death, as well as the wider police response regarding (public) safety.”
He is also joining the appeal in urging those with information to contact police, or Crimestoppers or the LGBT+ charity Galop. Police investigators are “only interested in information relevant to the death” while privacy will be respected, he assures.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Incident Room direct on 020-8345 3865, call 101, or Tweet @MetCC quoting 1277/16, alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. The Galop hotline is 020-7704 2040.
A 36-year-old man arrested in connection with the investigation has been released on bail.