CUMNOCK, Scotland – Police in Scotland are investigating the death of a young man who was badly beaten and burned alive before being left tied to a lamppost in what may have been a homophobic attack.
The body of 28-year-old Stuart Walker was found by the side of the road in Cumnock, Ayrshire at 5:00am Saturday suffering from "horrible injuries," The Scotsman reported.
The hotel worker had been out with friends earlier in the night and was last seen alive by a family friend at about 2:30am.
Strathclyde Police have launched a murder inquiry, with a spokesperson saying Walker had not "died from his burns" and had been subjected to "a horrific attack."
Officers are not ruling out that Walker was murdered because of his sexuality.
"In terms of claims of his sexuality and lifestyle we are not ruling out any aspect of his life to try and identify why someone would want to kill him," the spokesperson said.
Kazza Sutherland, who used to work with Walker, said, "Can't believe this has happened to such a great guy. I hope they catch those who did this to him. Hopefully justice will be served and I hope those who did this go to hell."
Police are looking closely into what Walker was doing in the hours before he was found.
"It is imperative we find out where he was between 2:30 a.m. and 4:50 a.m., who he was with and why this happened to him," Detective Inspector John Hogg of Strathclyde Police said.
"Officers are checking CCTV and carrying out door to door in the area and we would encourage anyone with information to approach them or to call Ayr Police Office."
Newscore contributed to this report.