Friends rocked by 'homophobic' killing
PUBLISHED: 17:34 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:43 12 August 2010
DEVASTATED friends of a man murdered on his doorstep say they are shocked he could have been murdered for being gay. Connie and Nigel Garrard are still reeling from the news that retired trade unionist Gerry Edwards
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EXCLUSIVE By Kate Nelson
DEVASTATED friends of a man murdered on his doorstep say they are shocked he could have been murdered for being gay.
Connie and Nigel Garrard are still reeling from the news that retired trade unionist Gerry Edwards, 59, and his partner Chris Bevan, 56, a nurse at Orpington Hospital, were brutally attacked in Page Heath Villas, Bickley, the quiet street where they first got to know them some 19 years ago.
The couples became close friends because of their shared loves of music, theatre and cats and Mr Edwards was guarantor for them when they re-mortgaged their house.
Music teacher Mrs Garrard, 42, of Canon Road, Bickley, said: "I don't understand why anyone would do this. Whatever they wanted to do was their own business. Nobody should be killed for being gay. What a rotten world we live in, it's frightening.
"I'm shocked and I still can't believe it. They were the sweetest, most gentle, loving people you have ever met. They would always look out for you and were always giving me kisses and cuddles. I can still smell Gerry's aftershave.
"When we used to go for coffee I would pour my heart out to him. He was a rare diamond. We always gave each other little gifts. I can't believe it. What's the point in living anymore?"
The men, who were together for 25 years, were targeted on March 3 after answering their front door to a knifeman who stabbed Mr Edwards to death before launching a violent onslaught on Mr Bevan.
He was stabbed in the face, neck, ear, back, arms, hands and upper torso and remains on a life support machine in Kings College Hospital, Camberwell where he has suffered four cardiac arrests. Doctors fear that he may die from his injuries.
Mr Bevan managed to tell police that his attacker shouted homophobic remarks during the assault and gave them a brief description of him.
Musician Mr Garrard, 45, said: "Gerry was an eccentric, I would come back from a gig at 2am and I would see him with his light on reading Shakespeare. He would lean out the window and say 'Nigel I don't know who is more bohemian, you or me.'
"He was tiny, he couldn't have been more than about seven stone because he was very ill with pneumonia. He wouldn't have even been able to shout very loud let alone fight someone. If I'd seen anything I would have gone in with all guns blazing.
"Gerry had very strong opinions and I can see how someone could take him the wrong way. He was very articulate and intelligent, and some people could possibly take him the wrong way. But his heart was always in the right place, there was no malice in him.
"Chris is the complete opposite really. He isn't a man of many words but they loved each other very much. I don't know how he will cope without Gerry, they doted on each other."
Some of Mr Edwards' family live in Australia. He became estranged from his ex-wife some years ago but had recently become good friends with her again. It is not believed the either of the men had children.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning, DCI Cliff Lyons, said: "This is an extraordinary crime. These two men were attacked in their own home. They were well known in the area and people speak highly of them. We would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact us."
A 46-YEAR-OLD man appeared in court charged with the murder of Gerry Edwards and the attempted murder of his partner Chris Bevan.
Wearing a white tracksuit and sporting stubble, David Kilcullen, 46, of The Avenue, Bromley, appeared at Greenwich Magistrates on Monday (9). He spoke only to confirm his name and address.
Mr Edwards, 59, died from a stab wound to the heart which severed the aorta. A 59-year-old man arrested over the attack has been bailed until April.
Shaved-haired Mr Kilcullen was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on June 15.
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