A man fatally injured in a suspected homophobic attack in Tower Hamlets has been named by detectives as Ranjith Kankanamalage.
Ranjith, also known as ‘Roy’, aged 50 had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years.
Ranjith’s family are being supported by specialist officers and have released an image of him in tribute as police continue to appeal to members of the public who may have information that could help the investigation to come forward.
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) at approximately 06: 30hrs on Monday, 16 August following reports that a man had been found unresponsive in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on Southern Grove, E3.
Officers and LAS paramedics attended the scene and found Ranjith with a head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination conducted on Thursday, 19 August found the cause of death to have been blunt force trauma to the head.
The incident is being treated as a homophobic hate crime, although detectives are keeping an open mind as they progress the investigation.
Local patrols in the area have been increased and officers have been working with LGBT+ Advisory Group and LGBT+ charities including Galop, Elop and Positive East to inform and encourage members of the community to stay safe in the wake of the incident, which has understandably caused considerable shock and concern.
Members of the community and local people who use the area, especially at night, are urged to report anything suspicious to police immediately. They are also advised to prioritise their personal safety by being aware of their surroundings, avoiding listening to loud music, and avoiding dimly-lit areas where possible.
A crime scene remains in the park at this time and is expected to stay in place for a number of days.
Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, policing commander for Hackney and Tower Hamlets, 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. You can contact Crimestoppers anonymously, or speak to the charities mentioned. But what matters most is that you make the call if you know anything.”
Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, Specialist Crime, 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 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.”
A 36-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the investigation has been released on bail.
Anyone with information should call the Incident Room direct on 0208 345 3865, call 101, or Tweet @MetCC quoting 1277/16. Alternatively, you can give information by following this link.
To remain 100% anonymous call the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
+ Galop hotline: 020 7704 2040.