COPS are investigating after a well-known drag queen was found dead in a city centre alleyway.
Darren Moore, 39, was last seen leaving the gay nightclub Pulse in Cardiff at 5am on Sunday wearing a yellow dress and handbag.
Anxious friends and family posted messages on social media appealing for help finding him after he did not get in touch and his phone was off.
Jewellery designer Darren, whose creations had featured on Ru Paul's Drag Race, had been performing his drag act Crystal Couture just hours before going missing.
South Wales police confirmed it was investigating the sudden unexplained death of a 39-year-old man in Cardiff's Windsor Place.
One comment on social media from Benidorm Klee said: “RIP. Sadly, you were found in Drag last night. In Cardiff sadly passed away! Attacked #Gay Violence.
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“This is horrible! This should never have happened! Dear sweet Darren Moore the heavens have gained an angel! We will miss you.”
A fundraiser for his funeral was set up yesterday by his husband, also called Darren Moore.
It said: "Anyone who knew Darren would know how he was never understated in his appearance and costume. His larger-than-life character and charisma were something that you'll never forget.
“We'd like to support Darren and the family and give Darren the biggest send off. If you're able too and can afford a few quid, please donate what you can to ensure we do him proud."
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Cardiff's gay pub The Golden Cross posted a message on Twitter saying: "We are deeply saddened to learn of Darren Moore’s passing. Many of you will know of his long standing support of the Golden.
“He was the life and soul of the Party and would always be entertaining the masses, usually accompanied with a round of shots."
Others paid tribute to Darren – whose jewellery firm BlingBlingBlingUK featured on Ru Paul's Drag Race.
Tom Barnett-Griffiths wrote: "Woke up to devastating News. Heart broken! Cardiff has lost another legend. Little Darren.
"Words can’t get over how myself and Leigh are feeling right now. You was always full of energy, love, heart of gold, and a loving friend and husband.
"Sympathy and love goes out to his family."
As a teenager, and under his previous name of Darren Sewell, he was convicted of four counts of rape on a boy under the age of 14 and sent to a Young Offenders’ Institution for three years.
He was banned from having contact with children but in 2011 he was convicted of breaching the order by working as a gymnastics and dance tutor with children in Cardiff.
He was sentenced to a three-year sex offender's treatment programme, a 24-month supervision order, 300 hours unpaid work and a six-month curfew on electronic tag.
Crystal Couture's official website describes his act as "for audiences large and small and of all ages" and "available for wedding, christening, birthdays, and celebrations of all types".
But audience members walked out of a “Pride Without Prejudice” event in 2018 when he made insensitive jokes about prolific child abuser Jimmy Saville.
The area where Darren was found was cordoned off today and flowers were laid at the spot.
South Wales Police said it is investigating.
Superintendent Michelle Conquer, Head of Operations at Cardiff and Vale BCU, said: “We understand there is shock and upset in the local and wider community following the sudden and unexplained death of a man in Cardiff city centre on Sunday.
“While an investigation is on-going, our Neighbourhood Policing Team as always will continue to provide a visible police presence in the city centre.
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"A police cordon is in place while enquiries continue at the scene and we thank the community for their support at this time.
“We urge anyone with concerns to approach one of our officers or contact us by one of the following means."
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