Homophobe killers are likely to strike again, warn police

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The Independent Online

Jody Dobrowski, 24, a bar manager from south-east London was chased and brutally beaten by his killers who shouted homophobic abuse while they kicked and punched him in a wooded park area in Clapham Common, south London.

Mr Dobrowski, who was found late on Friday night by passers-by was taken to hospital shortly after midnight where he died on Saturday from severe head, neck and face injuries. He is believed to have been gay although he had not formally told some family members. It is thought his attackers chased him shouting insults before cornering him and overpowering him - despite the fact that he was six foot four tall. Metropolitan Police investigators believe the two male suspects may have struck before and are "likely to strike again".

Detective chief inspector Nick Scola, who is leading the investigation said it was a sickening attack with shocking levels of violence.

He said no weapon had been recovered and believed most of Mr Dobrowski's injuries were a result of a sustained physical assault which took place in a secluded spot in the park which is a notorious cruising ground for gay men.

"The attack was abhorrent and the victim was assaulted violently. We are treating this as a homophobic attack. Words were overheard by witnesses. There were insults in London accents," he said.

"This level of violence may well be a build up. The suspects may have attacked other people and this could be an escalation of violence. Logic suggests they have attacked before,'' he said.

Around eight or nine people were in the wooded area between 11pm to 1am when the attack took place. Det Ch Insp Scola appealed for witnesses to come forward who may have seen the assailants running away after the crime took place.

Bob Hodgson, from the Metropolitan Police's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advisory group warned that others were at risk from gay hate attacks if the suspects were not found. "It stands to reason that if people who are prepared to do this are left in the community, they can go out there and do it again. They have got a hatred of people and are likely to do it again," he said.

"This is a time for people from the community to come forward if they know anything at all. If you don't come forward with what you know, you could potentially be putting other people at risk in the future. We need to work with police to solve this crime," he said.

He urged other victims of homophobic attacks in the gay community - which is thought to have high levels of unreported hate crime - to come forward.

The two suspects were described as white, aged around 20, one six foot with shaved hair and the other shorter and stockier.

Mr Dobrowski, who worked in a Clapham bar before becoming bar manager in a venue elsewhere in London, had been visiting friends in the area whose home he left at 10.15pm.

He was wearing a black top with a fur-lined hood when he was found. Police said they could not rule out the possibility that he had been cruising in the area.

Police reassured the community or any witnesses who could aid the investigation they would not be identified or criminalised for being in the popular gay haunt.

A few weeks ago there were reports of an attempted garrotting in the same area.