Tributes to Ranjith on the day his murderer was sentence to life in jail © Social Streets C.I.C.

Bow man sentenced to life in jail for Ranjith Kankanamalage murder in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

A man from Bow has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in August 2021, following a trial earlier this year. 

On Wednesday 14 June, Eric Feld of Tredegar Road, Bow, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years for the murder of Ranjith Kankanamalage on 16 August 2021. Mr. Kankanamalage, who was 50, died from blunt force trauma injuries to the head inflicted by repeated hammer blows. He was found by a member of the public later that day.

Feld, 37, was found guilty of murder in March 2023 by a jury at the Old Bailey, following his arrest in January 2022 after his DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails. During the trial, the court heard how he held ten previous convictions, as well as a long-standing and ‘deep seated’ interest in extreme violence. 

The investigation also found that Feld had an ‘obsession’ with hammer attacks, with police finding evidence on his phone of search history relating to and previous viewing of hammer attack videos. A search of Feld’s home also found numerous mallets and a sledgehammer.

Ranjit Kankanamalage had moved to the UK from Sri Lanka to study to become an accountant, leaving an ex-wife and two children in Sri Lanka. Speaking to the court via video, his daughter described her father as her ‘best friend’. 

During his time in London, Mr. Kankanamalage was in a civil partnership with another man for several years, leading to the interpretation of this as a targeted homophobic attack. This has been further corroborated by homophobic comments which Feld made during the course of his cross-examination, yet sufficient evidence was not found to show that homophobic hostility is what motivated Feld at the time of the attack itself.

In a statement released earlier this week, Tower Hamlets Mayor Luftur Rahman said that he hoped the ‘sentence brings some comfort and justice to the friends and family of Ranjith Kankanamalage’.

Continuing, Mayor Rahman said ‘There is no place for hate in Tower Hamlets and we will continue to come together to oppose extremism and racism in all its forms. 

‘Together with partners including the police, we will continue to work to improve community safety, tackle all forms of hate and discrimination, and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion for all the communities we serve, including LGBTQ+ people.’

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