Hampshire police are asking the gay community for help in finding the killer of a gay man.
Nigel Price, 58, was found on Southampton Common on Saturday November 14th with severe head injuries. He had been at a local pub the night before and police believe he was attacked before 9.30pm.
He died last Tuesday in hospital when his condition deteriorated, having been in a semi-coma for four months. A post-mortem examination found that he died from the delayed effects of his head injuries.
Mr Price was known as an out gay man and police have not ruled out the possibility that the attack was motivated by homophobia.
The area where he was found was known as a popular meeting place for gay men and police hope that people who were out on the common that night may be able to help the investigation.
Detective Chief Inspector Ben Snuggs, leading the investigation, told the Southern Daily Echo: “We are appealing to the gay community who we believe may hold the answers.
“I would urge people to come forward and would like to reassure them that we will treat them with the utmost sensitivity and discretion.
“We would even be happy to talk with them through a third party.
“We are not concerned as to the reasons why witnesses may have been on Southampton Common on the night of this assault – my priority is to find who is responsible.”
LGBT liaison officers have also been visiting gay and lesbian pubs to encourage witnesses to come forward.
Police know that Mr Price was at the nearby Cowherds Pub until about 8.20pm on the evening of Friday November 13th. He was found at 7.30am the following morning.
A statement from his four brothers and sisters urged people to come forward.
It said: “We as a family would like to ask anyone out there who knows anything about what happened to him, no matter how small, to please, please come forward and talk to the police. Don’t let someone else suffer as we are.
“We appreciate some people may find it difficult to speak straight to the police but we would ask them to still please make sure they pass on anything they know.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Operation Levy Team at the Major Crime Department at Hulse Road on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.