A life sentence with a minimum of 28 years in jail was given to a man who killed a stranger with a claw hammer in a “horrific and abhorrent” murder in east London.

Erik Feld, 38, hit Ranjith Kankanamalage at least 12 times in the head at a Tower Hamlets cemetery in the early hours of 16 August 2021.

The judge at the Old Bailey said Feld had a “long held fantasy” to kill a stranger with a hammer.

Mr Kankanamalage, 50, was a Sri-Lankan national who came to the UK to study, leaving his wife and children behind.

His daughter, Hiruni Kankanamalage – who watched proceedings via videolink from Sri Lanka – said in a statement that her father was her “best friend” who was “brutally murdered before his dreams could come true”.

The court heard that Mr Kankanamalage was in a civil partnership with another man for a few years in London, who described him as a “kind and gentle” person.

Mr Justice Bryan KC said the murder was “selfish, callous and abhorrent.”

He added that it was “unknown and irrelevant” why the victim was in a park at such hours and that he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The court heard that he had a fantasy to murder a random stranger and that he watched graphic hammer-based attack videos.

He also had previous convictions for violent and sexual offences. His defense said he had a personality disorder and an abusive childhood.

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