Detectives investigating the death of pensioner Malcolm Bryan have today confirmed it is being treated as a homophobic incident.

67-year-old Malcolm Bryan, who worked in the entertainment industry booking cabaret artists, was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell in a bock of flats in Portsmouth after midnight on September 21.

His death is the third gay murder in less than a year. In July Michael Fardon, 45, from Northampton was murdered after a night out at his local the Boston Clipper.

Last year Jody Dobrowski was beaten to death on Clapham Common, London. Two men are now serving life for Jody’s murder.

Cabaret stars have been paying tribute to Malcolm and are now planning to get a video highlighting hate crime broadcast on national television as well as in gay bars and clubs.

They are also considering plans to create a charity entitle Kiss Goodbye to Homophobia which would run campaigns against gay hate crimes.

Malcolm met his death just days after attending a fundraising benefit at the Boston Clipper in memory of Michael Fardon. Now the community in Northampton is reeling from this latest murder: “After the benefit I felt on such a high and that we are finally achieving something for the gay community and we are going to make a difference,” said the organiser of the Northampton event which raised money to improve hate crime services in the area. “Now this has happened to such a lovely guy who was so passionate about the gay community.”

Malcom’s death has left Martin having to care for Malcom’s 98-year-old mother who had been dependant on him. Martin has given up his job to ensure Mrs Bryan is looked after.

Numerous tributes to Malcolm have been left on the internet messageboard hunkystrippers.com which is run by a friend. It includes one from Malcolm’s partner Martin: “My Malcolm was a legend in his own right, he came out when it was a prisonable offence, but at that time they all stood proud, later in his life he was booking acts in the east end of London for the gay community.

“I was so proud to call this man my mentor, my best friend and my husband.”

A 50-year-old man has been arrested and released on bail until November 16.

Constabulary Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers continue to work with the gay community in the city-offering support and advice, as well as gathering information.

Anyone with information should contact police on 0845 045 45 45 or use the anonymous Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111or visit www.hampshire.police.uk/Internet/localpolicing/portsmouth/