Monday, 24 October 2011

Stuart Walker Murder: Still A Mystery

The murder of Stuart Walker is now trending on Twitter.
Many people are saying how upset and angry they are.
Who wouldn't be?
His death looks incredibly horrific and sadistic.
Stuart, 28, was found dead with "horrible injuries" on the edge of an industrial estate in Cumnock on Saturday Morning.
It has been said he had been tied to a lamppost, beaten and burned.
Much of the outrage on Twitter is because people say this was an anti-gay hate crime.
Whilst that looks likely, this angle was picked up last night from a story on the Daily Mail's website;
Savagely beaten, tied to a lamppost and burned alive: Horrific fate of hotel manager who was murdered 'for being gay'
Note the quote marks.
Their line in the story is far more nuanced; "Strathclyde Police would not rule out that Mr Walker had been murdered because of his sexuality and were now closely examining all aspects of the victim’s life."
ie the police when asked by the Mail said they do not know yet, and yes it may be an anti-gay hate crime.
But this is an old tabloid trick - ask a leading question, then turn a non-commital answer into a "story".
Note this is in The Daily Mail - a newspaper known for its sensationalism, exaggerations and distortions.
If we start taking our cues from them unquestioned we are fucked.
Note how BBC News has worded it;
"Following reports Mr Walker may have been targeted due to his sexuality, Strathclyde Police said they were looking into all aspects of his life."
"Following reports..." ie in The Daily Mail.
Stuart Walker was gay, and the awful ritualistic method of the claims he was tied to a lamppost and burned has echoes of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard.
It certainly looks like it could be a homophobic hate crime, but at the moment we do not know.
That's why the police are investigating.
Probably best not to reach a conclusion on this before the police - or a court of law - does.

Update: "They [Police] would not comment on reports he had been tied to a lamppost and beaten." The Guardian

Update 2 - 13.11: "Police are aware of reports about Mr Walker's sexuality and are trying to establish a motive. They said there was nothing to suggest a homophobic crime.
Det Insp John Hogg, of Strathclyde Police, said: "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." BBC News online.


  1. The ritualism certainly makes the chances of it being a hate crime much more likely.

  2. Yes, it does.
    But it's also the sort of thing you get in gangland feuds.

  3. Is there anything to suggest he was involved in gangs?

  4. Not that I know of.
    Maybe best to wait and see what the murder investigation says.
    And the police have aso not yet confirmed he was tied to a lamppost and beaten - his dead body was found by the roadside...

  5. I prefer to jump to unfounded conclusions, thank you!

  6. Sorry, I shouldn't be flippant. This is horrific whatever the motivation.

  7. stuart was a fine young man n would never hurt any1. i'd like to think the people involved will b caught soon.
    he was not looked at as gay by the majority of people here simply as a friend