Police hunting for the killers of a 62-year-old gay man who was beaten to death in Trafalgar Square have arrested two 17-year-old girls and one 18-year-old boy.

Ian Baynham was attacked on September 25th. After suffering brain damage, his life support machine was switched off on Tuesday.

According to a Metropolitan Police spokesman, the girls were arrested at their homes in south-east London, as was the 18-year-old male.

They are being held at separate police stations and will be questioned.

Baynham was out celebrating a new job with a friend when the attack happened. The teenagers had reportedly been shouting obscenities at passerbys when he confronted them over their behaviour.

They allegedly screaming homophobic abuse at him before they kicked him to death.

Detective chief inspector Clive Heys told the Evening Standard yesterday that Baynham, of Beckenham, Kent, had recently won a job at the UK Border Agency after a long period out of work. He had also qualified as a counsellor for AIDS sufferers.

He added: “I don’t criticise Mr Baynham in any way for his actions.

“If you are 62 years of age and minding your own business when somebody hurls abuse at you, I think you are entitled to remonstrate with them. It is horrendous that this can happen in Trafalgar Square on a Friday night. It would appear to be completely random.”

Baynham’s friend, who was not his partner, received minor injuries in the incident. He grabbed one of the girls as she tried to flee after the attack but was forced to let her go when a well-meaning passerby assumed he was assaulting her.