THE death of a Beckenham man in Trafalgar Square has united the gay community in calling for an end to hate crime.

Ian Baynham was assaulted outside the South African embassy last month and lost his fight for life last Tuesday (October 13) when doctors turned off his life support machine.

The 62-year-old was on a night out with a pal celebrating a new job when he was allegedly on the receiving end of a barrage of homophobic abuse.

But the resulting argument had tragic consequences when Mr Baynham was assaulted and left with brain damage.

His death has sparked calls for more action against hate crime in the capital, with supporters organising a candle lit vigil in Trafalgar Square on October 30.

Organiser Ian Healey, 39, said: “I'm angry that another person has been killed, and for all the pain and grief that this will cause his friends and family for years to come.

“I think it's important that his death is not in vain and that it provokes us all to do what we can to try and prevent this happening again.”

Mr Baynham lived in Gresham Road, Beckenham, and his neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac told News Shopper he was always friendly and eager to lend a hand.

News Shopper: Ian Baynham

Joining a growing number of tributes online, Claire Tyler, added: “Not only was Ian my next door neighbour, he was a family member.

“We laughed together, cried together and most of the time got very drunk together.

“He taught me a lot about life, and how cruel it could be, but nothing could prepare me for how he was stolen.”

Mr Baynham was about to start a new job at the Home Office’s UK Border Agency office in Croydon just days after he was attacked.

Speaking on News Shopper’s website, neighbour Jack Tipping, said: “He loved life and everyone loved him. The street is in total shock.

“The world is cruel and will be a more lonely place without Ian.”

The Trafalgar Square vigil has been organised between 8pm and 10pm, with a two-minute silence at 9pm.

The gay community in south-east London and north Kent has been rocked by several high profile crimes in the last year.

Last November, gay David Cooper, 28, was beaten to death at his flat in Woolwich. He had been drinking in Soho the night before his murder.

News Shopper: Police say the area will be cordoned off until around 6pm tonight (March 4)

Gerry Edwards, 59, was stabbed to death at his flat in Page Heath Villas, Bickley, in March. His partner Chris Bevan also suffered stab wounds and is still recovering in hospital.

And in July, Edward Highwood, 79, was murdered at his home in Greenwich with neighbours and friends fearing he may have been targeted because he was gay.

Earlier this month, News Shopper also reported Keith Stepney, 53, and his partner John Mead, 42, were forced to move form their home in Northfleet after suffering weeks of homophobic abuse.

News Shopper: NORTHFLEET: Homophobic abuse drives disabled couple out of home

The Met’s latest crime stats show the number of reported homophobic crimes in the Bromley borough rose from 53 to 62 in the 12 months to September, with London-wide figures rising from 1008 to 1192 crimes.

Joel Alexander, aged 19, from Thornton Heath, and two 17-year-old girls, from Penge and Thornton Heath, have been charged with manslaughter in connection with Ian Baynham’s death.