A gay man found dead in Leith, Edinburgh, may have been killed in a homophobic attack, his friends say.

John Carter, 44, was found unconscious in a lift in a block on flats early on Sunday morning.

He died in hospital several hours later. Police say they are not currently treating his death as a homophobic attack.

According to the Scotsman, a friend said he had spent Saturday afternoon and evening in the Port O’Leith in Constitution Street before he was seen leaving with two men.

The friend told the newspaper: “We don’t know if he was maybe going to a party. John was gay so we don’t know if he might have expected something else to happen.

“That’s left us thinking it may have been a homophobic attack.

“John was a gentle giant with no interest in fighting. He was a lovely guy who was very cultured. He loved reading, playing backgammon, going to museums and libraries.”

Early reports suggested that Mr Carter had been beaten and one resident in the apartment block reported seeing blood by the lift.

Police said a post-mortem examination was inconclusive and are appealing for witnesses.