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£20,000 reward for information after anti-gay murder in East London cruising area

Police have released these images of two possible witnesses

2021-10-12

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Metropolitan Police

Police are offering a £20,000 reward for anyone who can provide information in relation to the murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage [below], whose death in August has been classed as a homophobic hate crime. 

The 50-year-old, known as 'Roy', was found unresponsive in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park - a well-known cruising spot for men who have sex with men - on 16 August after being violently attacked. A post-mortem concluded that the cause of death was as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

Detectives leading the investigation say they've followed several lines of inquiry, but are now calling on people to help provide information that could identify anyone behind the murder.

"We must all be vigilant"

The Metropolitan Police have also released CCTV images of two men they believe were in the area at the time of Kankanamalage's murder and could prove invaluable witnesses [pictured below]. 

One man [below left] has been described as being of a medium build, with short, light-coloured hair, wearing a dark t-shirt, light blue shorts, dark brown trainers, and carrying a black backpack.

The second man [below right] is also of a medium build but with short, dark hair, wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.

Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command says the police understand why people may be reluctant to come forward given the circumstances, but urged people to share information "no matter how insignificant they believe it to be," adding people could report information to the police or its LGBTQ partners.

He adds: "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."

Derek Lee, from the Met's LGBT+ Advisory Group, reiterated calls for people to come forward. He said: "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."

John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said the community had been "deeply saddened and shocked" following Kankanamalage's murder.

"Tower Hamlets is proudly a No Place for Hate borough and hate crimes of any sort will not be tolerated," he said.

"We have a rich history of diversity which we celebrate alongside our work to ensure we are a safe and cohesive borough, free from all forms of hate," he added.

A 36-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident in August but was released on bail.

Anyone with information should 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.