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Man jailed for murder in cemetery

|News, Violent crime

A man has been jailed for killing a man with a hammer in a cemetery in August 2021.

Erik Feld, 37, who appeared at the Old Bailey today, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years for murdering Ranjith Kankanamalage at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

In the early hours of the morning of 16 August 2021, Mr Kankanamalage had been walking alone at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. He was found dead with catastrophic head injuries by a passer-by later that day.

A post-mortem examination found that the victim died from repeated blunt force trauma injuries to his head.

Feld was arrested on 21 January 2022 after his DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails.

CCTV showed that Mr Kankanamalage headed towards the cemetery from Whitechapel at around 4am on 16 August 2021. Footage also captured Feld walking out of the cemetery shortly afterwards.

During the trial, Feld told the jury that on 16 August 2021 he took a hammer to the cemetery, to take his frustration out on trees. When encountering the victim, he claimed that he used the hammer in self-defence.

The police found evidence on Feld’s phone that prior to the attack he had repeatedly visited websites that contained videos of people being attacked with hammers. Several mallets and a hammer were also found during a search of his home.

Julius Capon, Head of CPS London Homicide, said: “Feld is a dangerous and violent person. He and Mr Kankanamalage did not know each other. This was a random, brutal attack, and the victim lost his life in unexpected and horrific circumstances.

“The CPS and the Metropolitan Police Service gave very careful consideration as to whether there was sufficient  evidence to prove that this offence came within the definition of homophobic aggravation for the purposes of sentencing. While Feld made homophobic comments during the course of his evidence in cross examination, the prosecution was not able to adduce evidence to show that the murder was motivated by homophobic hostility or that such hostility was demonstrated at the time of committing the offence.

“Feld is now facing a life sentence. I hope this sentence will give the family and friends of Mr Kankanamalage some sense of justice. Our thoughts remain with them today.” 

Notes to editors

  • Erik Feld, (DOB: 17/07/1985), is of East London.
  • Julius Capon is the Head of CPS London Homicide Unit. 

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