Police offer £20k reward for info on homophobic murder in Tower Hamlets graveyard
Ranjith Kankanamalage was killed in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
A £20,000 reward has been offered for information on a suspected homophobic murder at an east London cemetery, as national hate crime figures on Tuesday painted a disturbing picture of violence across the UK.
Ranjith Kankanamalage, known as ‘Roy’, was killed in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on August 16.
The Met made the reward offer on Tuesday as a vigil, organised by Let Voice Be Heard, is set to be held at the scene at 5pm and as national figures were released showing that police recorded over 124,000 hate crimes across England and Wales in the year to March.
Kankanamalage, 50, was found with fatal head injuries and a post-mortem confirmed they were caused by blunt force trauma.
Police are yet to make any arrests over the "horrendous" murder, something the Met admitted was causing concern among the city's LGBTQ+ community.
The Met on Tuesday released CCTV images of two men seen walking past the cemetery at the time of the attack that they would like to speak to.
One of the men is described as being of medium build, with short, light-coloured hair. He was 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. He was wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.
A spokesperson for Let Voice Be Heard said the group was "coming together to show respect to Ranjith" and because "our voices need to be heard loudly against any kind of homophobic attack", the Evening Standard reported.
Detective superintendent Pete Wallis, from the Met’s specialist crime command, said police understand that given the circumstances of the crime "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," he said.
Wallis said the Met is particularly appealing to the two people seen walking past the cemetery at the time of the attack to come forward.
Derek Lee, from the Met’s LGBT+ advisory group, added: “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.
“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."
Lee said the advisory group was helping police with "sensitive ways" to keep parks safe while providing 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, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said the community was “deeply saddened and shocked following the senseless murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage" and urged anyone with information to come forward "so that we can ensure the safety of our residents and the LGBT+ community here and across the rest of London".
“Tower Hamlets is proudly a No Place for Hate borough and hate crimes of any sort will not be tolerated. 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," Biggs said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked 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.