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Jamaican police have cast doubt on evidence that the murder of New Zealand-born diplomat John Terry was a gay-hate attack.

The body of the 65-year-old British honorary consul was found severely beaten with a cord and item of clothing tied around his neck, outside his Montego Bay house last Wednesday.

A post mortem examination revealed he was strangled to death.

A handwritten note was found on his body that described him as a "batty man" - local slang for homosexual. It said: "This is what will happen to ALL gays" and was signed "Gay-Man".

But Jamaican police spokesman Karl Angell said the findings of the investigation so far did not suggest a anti-gay attack.

"And such media reporting along this line may well mislead the public and the assistance required from them by the investigators," he said.

Mr Angell said police were looking for a man in relation to the murder.

He was described as slim, with a brown "bleached" complexion and is believed to be in his early 20s. He was last seen wearing a brown shirt, brown pants, a brown cap with white peak and was carrying a black and grey bag.

Police believe Mr Terry knew his killer.

"There were no signs of forced entry. Whoever did this knew John Terry and he would have admitted them to the house," Assistant Commissioner Les Green, told British media.

Reports suggested Mr Terry's wallet and mobile phone were stolen in a bid to make it look like a robbery gone wrong. But Mr Terry's long-time friend Anne Bernard-Bennett doubted he had anything valuable.

She had not made contact with his estranged wife Liz yesterday.

Mrs Bernard-Bennett said she wanted to give the widow and the separated couple's children Melissa, 18, and Jordan, 21, space to grieve.

Richard Whitfield, managing director of Half Moon luxury resort where Mr Terry worked, said his staff was in mourning.

"As with the loss of a family member, we are deeply saddened by John's death," he said. "He was highly regarded and was a valuable member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Mr Terry worked as rooms maintenance supervisor. He had lived in Jamaica for over 40 years, was a justice of the peace, had been honorary British consul for 13 years and was a Member of the Order of the British Empire.