Police in Surrey are appealing to the gay community for help after a gay man was found murdered in his home.

John Gerrard Dowling was found dead at his home in Brighton Road, Addlestone, on Monday February 7th.

He died from “multiple injuries” – the nature of which have not been released. Police described his murder as “horrific”.

Mr Dowling, who was unemployed, was openly gay and police believe that his gay friends or acquaintances may be able to help with the investigation.

He was last seen alive during the afternoon of Saturday February 5th after buying food from fish and chip takeaway ‘Fish Basket’ in Station Road, Addlestone, at around 6.30pm.

He was then seen walking towards his home on Brighton Road.

Police said Mr Dowling was well-known in Addlestone and had a distinctive appearance due a glass eye he had worn since childhood.

He was described as 5ft 9in, of slim build, with receding greying fair hair, a pale complexion and wore metal framed glasses. He had a goatee beard at the time of his death.

Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway said friends of Mr Dowling could speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or a third-party reporting system if they did not want to speak to police.

She said: “I am very conscious that some of Mr Dowling’s friends from within the gay community may be reluctant to talk to the police. I would like to personally reassure them that any contact with me will be treated as confidential and their privacy will be respected. Initial contact could be through a trusted third party.

“I am sure that the friends of Mr Dowling are as anxious as I am to track down this killer and bring them to justice. It is important to the success of this enquiry for us to be able to fully understand Mr Dowling’s lifestyle and identify his movements in those days over that weekend. I cannot do it alone but with help from his friends our chances of success are greatly increased.

“If you knew Mr Dowling or you saw him in the days prior to his death please come and talk to me. He was well known locally and I remain convinced there are many friends and witnesses who are yet to be traced.”

DI Sidaway said there was no evidence that local residents were at risk of harm.