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Met Police accused of victim blaming for warning gay people to avoid dimly lit areas and loud music

Lily Wakefield September 1, 2021
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met police Ranjith Kankanamalage who was named as the victim killed in an alleged homophobic attack in london

Police named Ranjith Kankanamalage – also known as 'Roy', aged 50 – as the victim fatally injured in a suspected homophobic attack in Tower Hamlets in London. (Metropolitan Police)

The Met Police has been accused of “victim blaming” after warning gay people to avoid “dimly lit” areas and “listening to loud music” following the murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage.

Kankanamalage, also known as Roy, was a gay man who had lived in the London borough of Tower Hamlets “for many years” before he was tragically killed in a suspected homophobic attack in a cemetery last month.

A 36-year-old man was initially arrested in connection to the investigation into his murder, but was later released on bail.

Police are now facing accusations of “victim blaming”, after telling members of the LGBT+ community and local residents to “prioritise their personal safety by being aware of their surroundings, avoiding listening to loud music, and avoiding dimly-lit areas where possible”.

One Twitter user described the police force as “homophobic, victim blaming, useless p***ks”, and added: “Avoiding loud music??

“Do they think gays just walk round blasting Lady Gaga from speakers at night and THAT is why we’re attacked?!”

Another tweeted: “Met Police advising gay people to prioritise their safety at night ‘by being aware of their surroundings, avoiding listening to music and dimly-lit areas’ which is also their advice for women… so the Met Police are saying the streets are only safe after dark for straight men?”

Nicholas Rogers, the Conservative London Assembly member for Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston, tweeted: “This is London. This is 2021.

“The police should focus on their actual job: making *all* our city’s streets safe for gay people.

“We’ll decide the volume of our music, thanks.”

The Met Police are treating the murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage as a homophobic hate crime

Emergency services were called to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park at around 7am on the morning of 16 August, after Ranjith Kankanamalage was found unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem found that he died as a result of “blunt force trauma to the head”.

The Met Police said his murder is “suspected to be a homophobically motivated attack”, and that the “investigation team are working with the LGBT Advisory Group”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, policing commander for Hackney and Tower Hamlets, told the Evening Standard in a statement: “This is a horrific murder and my thoughts are with Ranjith’s family and loved ones.

“Whilst such incidents are thankfully still very rare in London, I want to reassure that community that my officers and specialist detectives are working tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.

“I also want to be really clear that there is no place, at all, in London for any form of hate crime and the Met is absolutely committed to tackling it and supporting victims. We are here for you.”

Anyone with information about Ranjith Kankanamalage’s death should contact the police on 0208 345 3865, by calling 101 or tweeting @MetCC quoting 1277/16. Members of the public can also contact LGBT+ charity Galop on 020 7704 2040 to give information about the incident.

To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Related topics: alleged hate crime, Crime, Met Police

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