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Police offering £20,000 for information in hunt for suspected homophobic murderer – new images released

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Police are offering a £20,000 reward for key information about a suspected homophobic murder in a historic cemetery.

Detectives investigating the killing of a man in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, east London, are offering the substantial sum for any information that could lead to the identification and conviction of his killer.

Ranjith Kankanamalage, know as ‘Roy’, was violently attacked, and found with head injuries in the park at around 6.30am on 16 August.

The 50-year-old gay man, who had lived in Tower Hamlets for many years, was pronounced dead at the scene, and a post-mortem showed he had died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park stock photo. Pic: iStock
Image: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. File pic: iStock

Officers are now classing his killing as a homophobic hate crime and believe there may still be key witnesses who have not yet come forward.

As well as the £20,000 reward, the Metropolitan Police has also issued new photos of two men who they understand were near the cemetery at the time of the attack.

Police believe they may hold information which could “prove invaluable to the investigation”, the force said.

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One of the possible witnesses is described as medium build, with short, light-coloured hair, wearing a dark T-shirt, light blue shorts, dark brown trainers and carrying a black backpack.

Police have issued this picture of a possible witness, who they know were in the vicinity of the cemetery at the time of the attack. Pic: Metropolitan Police
Image: Police have issued this picture of a possible witness, who they understand was in the vicinity of the cemetery at the time of the attack. Pic: Metropolitan Police

The second is also of medium build with short dark hair, wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.

Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said the force understood that “given the circumstances of the murder, people may be reluctant to come forward”, but urged anyone with information to get in touch.

“I can assure the public that any information shared will be treated with the utmost sensitivity and consideration”, he added.

“My colleagues and I remain dedicated to finding Ranjith’s killer”.

Police have released this image of a possible witness - he is described as medium build, with short dark hair, wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers. Pic: Metropolitan Police
Image: Police have released this image of a possible witness – he is described as medium build, with short dark hair, wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers. Pic: Metropolitan Police

Derek Lee, from the Met’s LGBT+ Advisory Group, said the unsolved murder is “causing considerable concern among LGBTQ+ people” in Tower Hamlets and across London.

He added that the group is “advising the police on sensitive ways of keeping our parks safe”, but asked “everyone to please use common sense when going home or out late at night”.

“We must all be vigilant”, he said.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is a 31-acre nature reserve and heritage site in east London.

It is cared for by the charity, The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, and at the time of the killing, it was forced to close for several days.

The charity said on social media at the time: “We’re very saddened and shocked by the death of Ranjith ‘Roy’ Kankanamalage, and our thoughts are with his friends, family, and those who knew him. We’re very sorry for their loss.

“This was a homophobic assault. We support the LGBTQ+ community and want all people to feel safe and welcome at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

“What happened is truly horrible, we are acutely aware of the reasons for our closure and how this may make people feel.”

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.