Teen killed gay barman in ‘uncontrollable rage’ and then set body on fire, court hears

A TEENAGER killed a gay barman who had tried to comfort him over his confused sexuality.

A TEENAGER killed a gay barman who had tried to comfort him over his confused sexuality.

• A teenager charged with killing a gay barman who tried to comfort him over his sexuality

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• 19-year-old Ryan Esquierdo pleaded guilty to culpable homicide

Ryan Esquierdo choked Stuart Walker to death and then set alight the 28 year-old’s body at a quiet industrial estate in Cumnock, Ayrshire, in October last year.

A judge heard how Esquierdo had an “uncontrollable rage” after finding himself alone with the victim and subjected him to a prolonged and violent attack.

The 19 year-old – who faced a murder allegation - today pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Mr Walker when he appeared at the High Court in Glasgow.

The reduced charge was accepted after it was heard he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time due to being abused as a child.

The first offender – who also admitted to attempting to defeat the ends of justice - will learn his fate when he returns to the dock next month.

The court heard how Esquierdo and Mr Walker had been out separately with friends in Cumnock on October 21 last year.

The pair later met each other “by chance” as they made their way home in the early hours of the next morning.

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Esquierdo was lying on a wall apparently asleep when Mr Walker woke him.

The pair then walked together towards the town’s Caponacre Industrial Estate appearing to be on friendly terms.

Prosecutor Andrew Brown QC said Mr Walker – who was openly gay – and Esquierdo spoke about the teenager’s sexuality.

The court was old how Esquierdo previously had a number of girlfriends, but that his sexuality had been “the subject of discussion by his friends”.

Mr Brown added: “Stuart Walker was only sympathetic with (Esquierdo’s) conflicted position.

“The accused described feeling safe talking to Mr Walker.”

The pair then got intimate which was consensual. But, Esquierdo became unhappy and started to panic.

The court heard claims Esquierdo was abused as a boy and that the situation he found himself in with Mr Walker brought “flashbacks”.

Mr Brown said this triggered an “uncontrollable rage” within the teenager and that Mr Wilson was at the end of “extreme and explosive violence”.

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The advocate depute added: “The deceased would have had no warning or sense of what was going to happen.”

Nine-stone Esquierdo bit, punched, kicked and stamped on Mr Walker – who was of far greater build.

He then strangled his victim – for around four minutes – until he was dead.

Mr Brown told the court: “There is (CCTV) footage which may be the accused setting fire to his jacket which he placed on the deceased’s body.”

Esquierdo then texted his friend Mary-Ann Dykes after the brutal killing claiming him and a boy had “just got jumped”.

Miss Dykes headed to the scene where she met Esquierdo who had been described as “a total wreck”.

She found Mr Walker’s charred corpse and she stamped out flames on a piece of fabric at his shoulder.

Esquierdo meanwhile called police and again claimed to an officer that there had been an attack by others and that Mr Walker had been set on fire.

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The teenager was examined and initially released, but was detained for the killing days later following investigations.

Esquierdo, of Menzies Avenue, Cumnock, told police: “I’ll go to my grave saying I did not murder that man.”

A large group of Mr Walker’s family and friends were in court to hear the tragic circumstances.

Prosecutor Mr Brown said he had been a “well liked figure” within the local community and that his death had been “devastating” to many.

There was further trauma for the family as Mr Walker’s bus driver dad David died of a heart attack in February this year.

The court was told psychologists had provided reports prior to the hearing today and it was accepted Esquierdo was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time.

It was concluded Post Traumatic Stress Disorder had sparked the brutal attack on Mr Walker.

Derek Ogg QC, defending, said the killing was “not a gay hate crime” and was instead “far more complex than that”.

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Mr Ogg added: “I would like to place on record Ryan Esquierdo’s utter bafflement and horror that he could inflict such violence.”

Judge Rita Rae QC remanded Esquierdo in custody and deferred sentencing for reports until next month.

No one from Mr Walker’s family or friends made any comment after the hearing.

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