Scotland: Teenage killer of gay barman Stuart Walker jailed for 12 years

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A teenager who admitted killing Stuart Walker after the gay barman tried to comfort him over his confused sexuality has been jailed for 12 years.

Ryan Esquierdo, 19, choked Mr Walker, 28, to death at an industrial estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, on 22 October 2011, before setting his body alight.

Esquierdo was convicted of the murder last month at Glasgow High Court.

He pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, after prosecutors accepted his claim of diminished responsibility.

At the court on Thursday, temporary judge Rita Rae QC sentenced Esquierdo to 10 years and three months for the killing.

She added another one year and nine months after he also admitted to a charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Esquierdo will be monitored for five years after his release from jail.

Judge Rae said Mr Walker had been the victim of “a brutal and senseless killing”.

Mr Walker’s aunt Linda Woods – who was joined in court by a large number of the barman’s relatives and friends – said no sentence would heal her family’s pain.

She also criticised the decision by prosecutors to accept the guilty plea to the reduced charge.

The defence successfully argued for the lesser charge of culpable homicide, rather than of murder, because Esquierdo had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the attack, and that he had also been abused as a child.

The court heard Esquierdo found himself suffering “flashbacks” when he was with Mr Walker.

Esquierdo strangled his victim for about four minutes until he was dead.