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Suspect in Deadly London Cemetery Hammer Hate Crime Pleads Not Guilty

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday April 12, 2022

The suspect in a deadly hate crime has pleaded not guilty, according to the BBC.

"Erik Feld, 36, of Tredegar Road, Tower Hamlets, appeared at the Old Bailey via video-link where he pleaded not guilty to murder," the article detailed, adding that Feld remains in prison awaiting a trial date next year.

As previously reported at EDGE, a 51-year-old gay man named Ranjith Kankanamalage was murdered with a hammer in a London cemetery last August. Subsequent advisories by the police sparked accusations of victim blaming.

"Gay people have been urged by the Metropolitan Police to avoid 'dimly lit areas' and 'listening to loud music' following a suspected homophobic murder" that took place in an East London park, UK newspaper The Telegraph advised at the time.

Another newspaper, the Evening Standard, relayed that "Reaction to the press statement on Twitter accused the force of 'victim-blaming' and urged them to prioritize stopping people from committing homophobic attacks in the first place."

Reports on the killing noted that Kankanamalage had suffered severe head trauma, and that the autopsy identified his cause of death as "blunt force trauma."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.