Teenager killed gay barman after he was confronted about sexuality

A teenager killed a gay barman in a street attack after he tried to confront him about his sexuality.

Ryan Esquierdo, 19, choked Stuart Walker to death and set fire to his body on an industrial estate in Cumnock, Ayrshire, last October.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, Esquierdo was jailed for 12 years for the culpable homicide.

Esquierdo had originally been charged with murder, but the Crown accepted his plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide after hearing he had suffered traumatic abuse as a child.

Mr Walker's death led to a national appeal for information by the police, which was echoed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who called on residents in the area to contact officers if they knew what had happened.

The two had been unknown to each other until they met by chance in the early hours of October 22 on their way home from nights out with friends.

Mr Walker, 28, found Esquierdo lying asleep on a wall and woke him up. The two men then walked together to the Caponacre Industrial Estate, apparently on friendly terms.

Andrew Brown QC prosecuting told the court Esquierdo had had a number of girlfriends but his sexuality was "the subject of discussion by his friends."

The teenager subjected Mr Walker to "extreme and explosive violence" after the pair had a consensual sexual encounter. Judge Rita Rae QC said Mr Walker had been the victim of "a brutal and senseless killing".

Mr Walker's aunt Linda Woods, joined by several of his relatives and friends at the sentencing, said no sentence would heal the family's torment. She also criticised the decision by the Crown to accept the guilty plea to the reduced charge.

Mrs Woods added: "I don't know how it was not murder. He (Esquierdo) knew what he was doing. I don't know Esquierdo, but for someone to say that was his reason for what he did is shocking. He took this out on a person who would not hurt anyone.

"Stuart would have spoken to anyone - that was the way he was - and this is what happened. He was just at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Stuart just did not deserve this - he was one of the nicest guys you could meet. His loss has left such a big hole in the family."

The court was told psychologists reports concluded it was accepted Esquierdo was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time. It was said he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder relating to childhood abuse, which had been sparked by the sexual encounter.

Derek Ogg QC, defending, said Esquierdo had "repeatedly expressed shame and remorse" for what he had done.

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