Man arrested on suspicion of murder after suspected 'homophobic attack'

20 August 2021, 19:08 | Updated: 20 August 2021, 23:31

A man died after being found unresponsive in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
A man died after being found unresponsive in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a suspected homophobically motivated attack at a historic east London cemetery.

Police were called to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park at around 7am on Monday after being alerted to an unresponsive 50-year-old-man by the London Ambulance Service.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and his next of kin have since been informed.

A subsequent post-mortem examination found the cause of death was "blunt force trauma to the head", the Metropolitan Police said.

On Friday, the 36-year-old murder suspect was taken by detectives to an east London police station.

Searches are ongoing at the scene and at a residential address in Tower Hamlets, police added.

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Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is known for its war graves and memorial
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is known for its war graves and memorial. Picture: Alamy

Detective Superintendent Pete Wallis, of the Met's Specialist Crime Command, said the arrest "marks a significant development" in the case.

"We still need to hear from anyone who was in the area around Cemetery Park during the early hours of 16 August," he added.

"The victim was attacked in what is suspected to be a homophobically motivated attack, but we remain open-minded. The investigation team are working with the LGBT advisory group.

"This investigation is fast-paced, I would ask that people are aware of their surroundings and are vigilant in their personal safety.

"The concern caused by the discovery of a body in these circumstances sends ripples throughout the community and may result in people discussing information that they have. I urge anyone who hears anything relating to this murder to get in touch without delay."

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Police believe the man was killed in a homophobically motivated attack
Police believe the man was killed in a homophobically motivated attack. Picture: Alamy

Superintendent Mike Hamer, of the Met's Central East Leadership and Support, added: "We are shocked by the nature of this horrendous and brutal attack.

"Our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends at this time.

"We, and our partners within Tower Hamlets, are supporting the investigation team and are absolutely committed to bringing the offender/s to justice."

A crime scene is still in place at the grounds of the cemetery and locals have been told they can expect an increased police presence in the area.

Anyone with information can call the incident room on 0208 345 3865, phone 101, or tweet @MetCC quoting 1277/16, or visit its website. Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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