The "unprovoked" beating death of a gay journalist is being investigated as a murder by police in New Zealand.
The Dominion Postreports that Phillip Alexander Cottrell, 43, a bulletins editor for Radio New Zealand, passed away Sunday in a hospital in Wellington following an assault that took place minutes after he left work around 5:30 Saturday morning.
Police do not believe that Cottrell, who reportedly suffered from a condition that made his bones brittle, was targeted because of his sexuality.
"We can not see any reason for Mr. Cottrell to be involved in an altercation," said Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller, who noted that the victim's "very severe" injuries indicated that he might have seen his assailant or assailants approaching.
While the disappearance of Cottrell's wallet suggests that robbery might be a motive behind the assault, a man identifying himself as Cottrell's friend said in an email to The Advocate that only two men have been killed during in-public attacks in Wellington -- and both were gay.
"While there may be no link to Phillip's sexuality here it does pose the question, Why were they both gay?" wrote John Green. "This was not 'a cowardly attack' on a total stranger, this was a planned murder by a person or persons who is/are to all intents and purposes a serial killer waiting to strike again."
According to police statistics, serious attacks in Wellington have increased by 43% during the past year.