Ranjith Kankanamalage was murdered in a brutal hammer attack at a historic East London cemetery in 2021.
On 15 August Ranjith Kankanalmalage, a Sri Lankan national, was found in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park with “catastrophic head injuries” and pronounced dead at the scene, following an attack detectives are treating as a homophobic hate crime.
The 51-year-old victim, known as Roy to his friends, was last seen walking alone in the historic cemetery, which is a known cruising area, before being discovered slumped on the ground by another passer-by a few hours later at around 6.55am.
His injuries were so severe, reports say, that no resuscitation efforts were made. It is not believed that Kankanalmalage and the accused were known to one another.
A murder investigation was launched and a post-mortem established his cause of death as blunt force trauma.
“Ranjith was a kind and generous soul who arrived from Sri Lanka 12 years ago to further his studies and support his family”, a friend told MyLondon.
“It is difficult to process and comprehend what has happened, but we hope justice is served to whoever carried out this devastating crime.”
“Ranjith was our dear friend and we miss him terribly, he was a person like you and me who had dreams and aspirations.”
Erik Feld, a 36-year-old man from Tredegar Road in Bow, was arrested on August 20 and later charged with his murder.
Today (12 April) Feld appeared at the Old Bailey via video-uplink where he pleaded not guilty to murder, the BBC reported.
Mr Feld was remanded in custody and a trial date was set for 6 March 2023. A further case management hearing will also take place on 15 July.