Detectives believe 50-year-old victim was killed due to his sexual orientation
A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the discovery of a body in a London park in what police believe was a “homophobically motivated attack”.
Detectives investigating the murder said the arrest “marks a significant development” and commended officers involved in the case for “working around the clock to bring justice to the victim and his family”.
Metropolitan Police were called to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, in Southern Grove, by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) at around 7am on Monday, following reports of a 50-year-old man being found unresponsive.
Officers and LAS paramedics who attended said they found the victim with a head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination, conducted on Thursday, found that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. His next of kin have been informed, the Met said.
The man arrested on Friday has been taken into custody at a police station in east London, where he will remain for further questioning.
Searches are ongoing at both the murder scene – where an extensive crime scene remains in place, as forensic teams examine the Cemetery grounds – and at a residential address in Tower Hamlets, police added.
The case’s detective superintendent said “the investigation into this death is being conducted by homicide detectives who are committed to discovering the circumstances of this incident”.
“The victim was attacked in what is suspected to be a homophobically motivated attack, but we remain open minded,” Pete Wallis, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said. “This investigation is fast-paced, I would ask that people are aware of their surroundings and are vigilant in their personal safety.”
He added that detectives were working with the voluntary LGBT Advisory Group to seek answers.
“Throughout our enquiries we have spoken to numerous members of the public, conducted house to house in the area and have trawled hours of CCTV, but we still need to hear from anyone who was in the area around Cemetery Park during the early hours of 16 August,” Mr Wallis said in a statement.
“The concern caused by the discovery of a body in these circumstances sends ripples throughout the community and may result in people discussing information that they have. I urge anyone who hears anything relating to this murder to get in touch without delay.”
Meanwhile, superintendent Mike Hamer, of the Central East Leadership and Support, said officials were “shocked by the nature of this horrendous and brutal attack” and sent reassurances to the victim’s family and friends “at this time”.
“We, and our partners within Tower Hamlets, are supporting the investigation team and are absolutely committed to bring the offender/s to justice,” he added. “The community can expect increased police presence in the area by way of reassurance, and I would ask anyone with information to come forward.”
To remain 100 per cent anonymous, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.