Murder of Stuart Walker reminiscent of another gay mans murder

Stuart with Emma Murphy (left) and an unknown woman.

See update below

I was just about to call it a night when I learned of a horrific murder that took place in the early hours of Saturday morning in Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Already people are calling it a homophobic attack but I’m not so sure about that…it’s still early into the investigation.

Stuart who was 28, was beaten and burned alive, before he was tied to a lamppost on the side of a road not far from an industrial estate.  A  member of the public came across his body at about 5:00 am Saturday.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police confirmed that following a post-mortem, they were treating the death of Mr Walker of Hearth Place, Cumnock, as murder.

She said that Mr Walker had not “died from his burns” and had been subjected to “a horrific attack”.

It’s unclear from what I have read,  if he was an assistant manager or a former assistant manager at the Royal Hotel in Cumnock, but he worked there at some point.

Stuart had been out with friends on Friday night and was last seen by a relative around 2:30 am Saturday morning.

Matthew Shepard

Hearing of Stuart Walker’s death brought back chilling memories of a young man called Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old  Political Science student at the University of Wyoming in the USA.  I’m not sure if his death made news in the UK, but I vividly remember reading how he had been driven to a remote area near Laramie where he was beaten and tortured, before he was tied to a fence and left to die. He was found unconscious 18 hours later, but never regained consciousness and died five days later on 12 October 1989.  Ironically both were attacked in the early hours of  a cold October morning.

His killers both received 2 consecutive life sentences each in prison, after his parents negotiated to save one of the killers from receiving the death penalty.

More about Stuart Walker’s death in the Scotsman  and about the foundation Matthew Shepard’s family set up.

UPDATE  18:00 hrs Monday 25th

Strathclyde Police

“We are still working towards identifying a motive for this murder.  I am aware of all the speculation in the media regarding Mr Walker and his death.  At this time we have nothing to indicate that this is a homophobic crime.  Until we know the exact circumstances surrounding this murder, we will not rule anything out and will keep an open mind on any possible motive for his terrible crime.

“There have also been reports that Mr Walker was tied to a post, this is not the case.  He was found lying on the roadside and although we are not going to go into specific details on the cause of death, it was an extremely violent crime and our focus at this time is finding those responsible and bringing them to justice.

UPDATE 30th October

TEENAGER  CHARGED WITH STUART WALKER’S MURDER

Odd that none of the media outlets that had screaming headlines following his death including the news that he was probed by police about allegations of indecency, haven’t reported that 18-year-old Ryan Esquierdo was arrested on Friday evening and is expected to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court on Monday 31st October.

The Daily Record is the only paper so far with any news about this kid being charged.  They’ve probably being whooping it up all weekend long with Halloween.

More about it in the Daily Record

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