Police on Tuesday were investigating the murder of a gay man who survived the fatal nail-bombing of a gay pub five years ago. Barman David Morley, 37, was beaten to death by a gang of six youths in central London early Saturday in what officers believe was a hate crime, London's Metropolitan Police said.
Morley was robbed and suffered 40 bruises, fractured ribs, and a ruptured spleen and died later in a hospital, said Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola. A male friend he had been sitting with on a bench by the Thames River was also injured in the attack and received hospital treatment but was later discharged.
The gang also attacked a group under a footbridge and battered a man over the head in a nearby garden. Scola said that in at least two of the attacks, the victims were gay. The beatings occurred near Heaven, a nightclub popular with gay men, just after 3 a.m. Saturday. "Whilst robbery was clearly a motive, until I can be satisfied the attacks were not homophobic, they will be treated as homophobic," Scola said.
Morley was working at the Admiral Duncan gay pub in London's Soho district when it was bombed by right-wing extremist David Copeland in April 1999. Three people were killed and 73 injured, and Morley suffered minor burns to his hands. Copeland, who also set off nail bombs targeting Asians and blacks in London during a 13-day reign of terror, was jailed for life.
The Metropolitan Police recorded 1,344 antigay crimes in the year to September, an increase of 20.4% compared with the previous 12 months. The force has made efforts in recent years to encourage more victims of homophobic attacks to file police reports.