A homophobic killer who was so obsessed with a hammer that he slept with it in his bed is facing at least 25 years in prison for beating a man to death in a graveyard.
37-year-old Eric Feld hit 51-year-old Sri Lankan Ranjith Kankanamalag twelve times.
Mr Kankanamalag was found dead in the early hours of 16 August 2021 by a member of the public at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.
The court heard that Feld had collected hammers and watched dozens of videos of the attacks in the weeks before the murder.
He even slept with a hammer in his bed.
Ranjith Kankanamalag (above), 50, was found with “blunt force trauma” injuries to the head at a cemetery in Tower Hamlets, London.
In 2017, Feld told a mental health evaluator that he was going out with a hammer looking for people to attack.
He was arrested for murder four days later after threatening a Poundland security guard with a hammer, but was released on police bail.
Feld was re-arrested until January 2022, when DNA taken from blood found on the victim’s fingernails linked him to the crime.
A post-mortem revealed about 12 blows to the head and face, which fractured the victim’s skull and damaged the underlying brain.
They were pierced by the claw hammer.
Feld denied murder, but was convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey today.
Mr Justice Bryan warned that he faces a minimum of 25 years to life for the horrific offence.
Prosecutor Paul Cavin said: “Mr. Kankanamalag received catastrophic blunt head injuries.
“They were so bad that the first responders thought they were dealing with someone with a gunshot wound to the head.”
When Feld was arrested on August 20, 2021, police found three hammers and a sledgehammer at his home.
During his second arrest, in January 2022, another hammer and razor were found near the pillow.
Mr. Kevin said: “Downloading the contents of the defendant’s phone showed that he had a keen interest in violence, with the specific subject of hammer attacks.
“In the weeks leading up to August 16, he repeatedly visited websites containing videos of people being attacked with hammers, some of whom were beaten to death.”
Feld used the website The YNC.com to search for videos of a sledgehammer attack in Birmingham, showing a man hitting two female employees with a hammer.
He also watched as a man who was choking on his own blood was killed with a screwdriver and a hammer, Mr Kevin said.
During a mental health assessment in 2017, he said that he would “go out with a hammer, a screwdriver or a razor, hoping to catch someone unconscious…in the alleys…” and that he would go out with a hammer if “the opportunity presented itself”. ‘
Mr. Cavin said: “On 18 August 2021, the defendant visited the Poundland store in East London.
“The security officer approached the defendant, suspecting him of shoplifting.
“There was a short argument, then the defendant left. ‘He came back out of the shop shouting.
“He pulled a claw hammer from his backpack and raised it above his head with a scream.”
Mr Kankanamalag had left his home in Whitechapel at around 10.00pm and had taken the tube to Mile End, arriving at the park at 10.52pm.
He was next seen on CCTV in nearby Mile End Park at 3.55am, walking back to the cemetery.
Mr. Kevin said: “You might be asking yourself ‘why was he visiting Mile End Park and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park at that time of night?’
‘The answer is we don’t know.’ Not all questions can be answered in a criminal trial, and this is one of them.
“However, we suggest that it doesn’t matter why he was there.”
While awaiting trial in May 2022, Feld confessed to the murder in prison in a written statement he handed to a prison staff member.
He wrote: “This prison makes me extremely nervous.
“It’s the same rude p**** after another, I don’t know them and I don’t care to know them.”
“They evoke the sentiments that lead to my index offense (accidental murder) of an unknown male.
“My character is a quiet, crazy person, they annoy me when I listen to them.
‘They really are drug lords, street gossiping gangsters. Pea brain a******** who speaks b********.
‘I fantasize about killing one of these pieces, gossips and d***heads.
Keep me away from other inmates with books and enough seclusion to allow me to read in peace.
In his defense statement read to the court, Feld claimed Mr Kankanamalag attacked him after he went into the garden with a hammer to hit some trees to help him sleep.
Locals said the cemetery (above) was known as a ‘cruise’ spot for gay men, but youth gangs also gathered there during the lockdown.
“He intended to hit some trees in the garden with a hammer, hoping it would tire him out and help him sleep.”
Mr. Kevin said: “It would have been an incredible coincidence that of all the people the deceased happened to meet in the park at 4am and decided to attack, he had the misfortune to choose one person who had an unhealthy interest in the extreme. violence, particularly with a hammer, and who happened to be armed with a hammer that night. ‘
Locals said the cemetery was known as a hangout for gay men, but youth gangs also congregated there during the lockdown.
During the inquiry, Derek Lee, from the Met’s LGBT+ advisory group, said: “This is causing significant anxiety among LGBTQ+ people in Tower Hamlets and across London.
“We are advising the police on sensitive ways to keep our parks safe and wider trust for all communities. In the meantime, we ask everyone to use common sense when walking home or going out late at night. We must all be vigilant.”
A figure matching Feld’s description was seen on camera leaving the park at 4.13am and walking less than a kilometer to Tredegar Road, where he lived.
Feld, of Tredegar Road, Mile End, admitted killing Mr Kankanamalage but claimed it was in self-defence. After a two-week trial, he was convicted of murder.
He will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be fixed.