A teenager has admitted killing a gay barman who tried to comfort him about his sexuality.
Ryan Esquierdo, 19, strangled to death Stuart Walker, 28 and then set fire to his body on an industrial estate in Cumnock, Ayrshire, last October reported today STV.
Esquierdo was originally 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.
The High Court in Glasgow, Scotland was told today (8 November) Esquierdo a discussion with Walk about his confusion over his sexuality triggered in him an ‘uncontrollable rage’.
Esquierdo bit, punched and stamped on Walker before grabbing him by the throat and strangling him for around four minutes until he was dead.
The two only met by chance on the early hours of 22 October, when Walker, on his way home from a night out, 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.
Esquierdo had had a number of girlfreinds but his sexuality was ‘the subject of discussion by his friends’, Andrew Brown QC, prosecuting, told the court.
Brown stated that Walker ‘was only sympathetic with [Esquierdo’s] conflicted position’.
When the pair became intimate, Esquierdo panicked and began suffering ‘flashbacks’ to the abuse he suffered as a child.
Brown said that although the contact between the two men was consensual, Esquierdo flared up into ‘extreme and explosive violence.
‘The deceased would have had no warning or sense of what was going to happen.
‘There is (CCTV) footage which may be the accused setting fire to his jacket which he placed on the deceased’s body.’
Immediately after the killing Esquierdo texted his friend, Mary-Ann Dykes, who dashed to the scene where she found the teenager ‘a total wreck’ and Mr Walker’s body still burning.
Esquierdo initially told police that he discovered Walker body and that he had been attacked and set on fire by others, but a few days later he was detained and charged with murder.
The Crown accepted that he had diminished responsibility for the killing after psychologists reported he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Derek Ogg QC, defending, said the kiling was ‘not a gay hate crime’ but ‘far more complex than that.
‘I would like to place on record Ryan Esquierdo’s utter bafflement and horror that he could inflict such violence’.
Mr Brown told the court that Walker had been a ‘well liked figure’ within the local community and that his death had been ‘devastating’ to many.
Walker’s father died of a heart attack in February, three months after his son’s violent death.
Judge Rita Rae QC remanded Esquierdo in custody and deferred sentencing for reports until next month.
Walker’s family or friends, several of whom were present for the hearing, refused to make any comment afterwards.