Photo: Metropolitan Police

A homophobic man who has an obsession with hammer attacks has been convicted of murdering Ranjith ‘Roy’ Kankanamalage in an east London cemetery.

Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable and/or upset.

Erik Field, 37, hid in the shadows before launching himself at the victim, the Old Bailey heard.

Ranjith was hit 12 times in the face and head with the hammer, resulting in what has been described as “catastrophic” injuries.

The 50-year-old’s body was ultimately found in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in the early hours of 16 August 2021 by a member of the public.

Feld was initially charged with the murder after his DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails.

He had previously researched and watched videos of violent assaults involving hammers, the Metropolitan Police force confirmed.

READ MORE: Victim of “homophobic hate crime” found dead in cemetery named by police

Under cross-examination in court, the defendant went on a homophobic rant about Ranjith.

Part of his defence suggested that the victim’s “Gaydar malfunctioned” and Feld lashed out after Ranjith made a pass at him.

Prosecutor Paul Cavin KC told jurors that the defendant has “dark places in his soul” that are “very near the surface”.

“The extraordinary homophobic outburst is obviously something you will not forget,” he continued.

READ MORE: Met Police is institutionally homophobic, racist and sexist, review finds

Discussing the possible motive for the attack in court, Cavin said: “Was he going there because that is where he knew people would be who he could attack? Was he going there to attack somebody he thought might be gay? Who knows.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates that prior to that evening, he had a deep-seated, long-standing serious interest in extreme violence using a hammer and that was an urge that could have been visited, perhaps, on anyone.”

Feld was found guilty following the conclusion of his trial on 23 March.

He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on a date which will be confirmed in due course.